The future of Jonathan Kuminga at the Golden State Warriors is currently at the forefront of speculation, particularly in the lead up to Thursday’s NBA Draft where the franchise currently holds the 19th overall pick.
Across the last week we’ve seen ESPN’s Jonathan Givony suggest the Warriors could explore the option of using Kuminga as a means to obtain a selection higher in the draft, while Andscape’s Marc J. Spears confirmed that Golden State have been getting calls on the 20-year-old and fellow youngster Jordan Poole. Who may those calls have come from? Possibly a rebuilding team out East — the Indiana Pacers.
The Indiana Pacers could target Golden State Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga, giving them a talented two-way forward to plug alongside All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton.
According to NBA Big Board’s Rafael Barlowe (subscription required), the Pacers may target Kuminga as part of their offseason wish to supplement a young roster with more two-way forward talent.
"“Indiana has been linked to Golden State forward Jonathan Kuminga and could look to strike a deal for the former No. 7 pick, who fell out of the Warriors’ rotation in the postseason”, Barlowe wrote."
Ironically, the Pacers hold the seventh pick in this week’s draft, potentially opening up an avenue for the Warriors to trade up in the draft. Such a move could give them access to one of the Thompson twins or rising Duke center Dereck Lively II.
However, Barlowe sees it differently, believing Golden State will be targeting a win-now player to elevate next year’s title chances should they choose to move on from Kuminga.
"“The Warriors don’t need or want another young player who needs minutes to develop. I see them moving Kuminga for a veteran that can play in the frontcourt…Myles Turner is the name that makes the most sense, but I don’t know how they’d get that deal done.”"
Turner’s long been in trade discussions around the league though has thus far stayed put, even penning an extension with the Pacers earlier this year. The 27-year-old would be an intriguing fit alongside Draymond Green given his skills as a shot-blocker and adept three-point shooter.
The Warriors being able to match Turner’s salary is a different question altogether. They’d likely have to utilize Gary Payton II alongside Kuminga and either Moses Moody or Patrick Baldwin Jr., otherwise ownership could save a lot of money by including Jordan Poole. Whichever you cut it, the aggregation of salaries/assets doesn’t appear overly appealing from a Warrior perspective.
The Pacers’ preference would likely be trying to steal Kuminga for fellow second-year forward Chris Duarte and one of their later first-round picks (26 or 29). Perhaps the Warriors could talk themselves into Duarte being a rotation player next season, but even then it’s another unattractive deal that ultimately makes a transaction between the two teams unlikely.