After a second-round exit against the Los Angeles Lakers and an offseason predicated towards a win-now approach, the Golden State Warriors face significant pressure to make the most of Stephen Curry’s remaining prime.
A slow start to next season will put immediate pressure on the Warriors’ aging core, head coach Steve Kerr, and most importantly the front office under the control of new General Manager Mike Dunleavy Jr.
The Golden State Warriors’ young players are most likely to be in the firing line if the team fails to recapture their best form early next season.
In a recent article looking at ‘1 Way-too-early 2024 trade deadline candidate for all 30 teams’, Sir Charles in Charge’s Michael Saenz has projected Jonathan Kuminga to be the Warrior most likely to be dealt next February.
"“Now it’s time for the Warriors to pick a side. And they did exactly that with the acquisition of Chris Paul and the re-signing of Draymond (Green)”, Saenz wrote. “Kuminga could be the next young player on the move after Golden State decided to move on from James Wiseman and Jordan Poole recently.”"
Although the likelihood of a Kuminga trade has cooled somewhat since the early period following the culmination of Golden State’s season, he’s still head-and-shoulders above any of the franchise’s young players when it comes to trade value. His appeal around the league would make Kuminga the lead candidate at this stage, depending of course on how the early portion of next season pans out.
The 20-year-old faces a pivotal third season, one that could make or break his career at the Warriors. Kuminga’s two-way talent presents as a major wildcard in Golden State’s hopes of returning to the top of the league.
Most recently the athletic forward stated that he’s “expecting a lot” from himself next season after a playoff campaign where he was stapled to the bench and out of the rotation. Kuminga averaged nearly 21 minutes during last regular season, and his potential development into a 25-minute per game player may be one of the most fascinating storylines to the Warriors’ season.
There’s still high hopes that Kuminga will develop into the player he and the franchise envisage him to be, but the reality is that he’ll have to buck the recent trend of Golden State’s younger players given the fate of James Wiseman and Jordan Poole so far this year.