After a disappointing second-round exit against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors face a substantial offseason where their audacious two-timeline plan could come to a critical juncture.
But the 2022 NBA champions aren’t alone when it comes to a big offseason, with another recent champion also reaching an intriguing position after a disappointing year where they failed to make the playoffs.
The Toronto Raptors could be a viable trade partner if the Golden State Warriors wish to retool and balance out their roster ahead of the 2023-24 season.
After beating the Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, the Toronto Raptors have largely been stuck in a place of mediocrity — not surprising given the immediate loss of Kawhi Leonard and the following implications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the Raptors have still tried to possess a roster to at least vie for a playoff berth over the last couple of seasons. Having failed to do so in 2022-23, their mindset could shift into more of a rebuilding mode.
The first domino has already fallen with championship-winning head coach Nick Nurse fired just over a month ago. A pair of key players, Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr., can each opt out of player options and become free agents, while Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby only have one guaranteed year left on their respective deals.
Anunoby was perhaps the most coveted player on the market in the hours before February’s trade deadline, but no one, including the Warriors who made a hard push, were willing to stump up the heavy price to acquire the 25-year-old wing.
Yet with Anunoby now entering the final guaranteed year of his deal (he has a player option for 2024-25), with the Raptors potentially looking at hitting the reset button, and with Golden State having failed to reach their lofty aspirations this season, the two sides may now be a little closer if they wish to reconvene on a deal.
The same can be said for Pascal Siakam if the Warriors want to look for a star level player rather than the high-calibre role player that Anunoby is. Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley has looked at three blockbuster trades for Golden State this offseason, two of which include the Raptors’ forward duo.
Both mock trades center around dealing Jordan Poole and Jonathan Kuminga, both whom could hold value to Toronto. The former could have the opportunity of slotting straight into a starting point-guard role should VanVleet leave in free agency, while Kuminga could be a devastating defensive wing pairing alongside Scottie Barnes.
If the Warriors do make a big trade this offseason, it’ll be about balancing their guard-heavy roster and diving deeper into their current experienced core. If so, the Raptors possess the forward talent to help meet both those objectives.