Golden State Warriors should target Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo prior to them actually hitting free agency.
There has already been speculation and discussion about how the Warriors could pursue and even land Giannis Antetokounmpo when he hits free agency in 2021. But any team in their right mind is going to be trying to sign one of the best players in the league.
And with the Warriors aging core, they need to be thinking about adding as much elite, young talent as possible. They were able to sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell over the offseason, but Joe “Light Years” Lacob and the Warriors organization are always thinking bigger.
The Russell deal was extremely important for the Warriors future because it gave them a max salary spot in their cap that otherwise would have been lost and impossible to get back without losing their core. Having Russell on their roster gives them the option of trading him for any other max player.
If the Warriors wanted to wait until Giannis hits free agency to try and sign him, they will run into the same issue: they will have to make a major trade and likely give up additional assets just to make space for Giannis.
So if the Warriors think they can sign Giannis, or even potentially Embiid, when they hit free agency, they should instead be trying to trade for the next offseason.
The Bucks and Sixers are the consensus favorite to win the Eastern Conference next season, and whichever of those teams doesn’t make it to the Finals is going to have unhappy superstars. And from what we saw with Anthony Davis this past year, unhappy superstars can put enormous amounts of pressure on a team to move them.
The Warriors should be targeting whichever of Embiid or Giannis don’t make the Finals this year and should make a heavy push to trade for them this coming offseason.
Those trades would still command a heavy premium likely built around D’Angelo Russell and an army of picks, but it would lock down the Warriors future without having to hope they hit a home run in free agency.
Both Embiid and Giannis have great relationships with Stephen Curry, so it’s very possible to see a situation where either of them become unhappy with multiple failed attempts to reach the Finals and decide to look for greener pastures elsewhere.
The Warriors best hopes of landing another superstar are to pounce on that potential trade opportunity rather than hoping to get lucky in free agency.