Analyst misguided suggesting Warriors should sacrifice rising star for two-way wing

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Following a breakout period over the second half of the season, Jonathan Kuminga has solidified himself as an integral part of the Golden State Warriors' short and long-term plans.

Yet given he remains the franchise's best young asset, Kuminga continues to be mentioned in trade speculation this offseason. According to Hoops Hype's Michael Scotto on Monday, Kuminga would only be dealt in a package for an All-NBA level of player.

Would the Golden State Warriors be willing to include Jonathan Kuminga in a trade for LA Clippers' star Paul George this offseason?

Paul George is the big name currently being linked to the Warriors, but does (or should) the 34-year-old actually qualify as someone who the franchise would be willing to trade Kuminga for? NBA analyst Bill Simmons seems to think so on a recent episode of his podcast, suggesting they could trade the 21-year-old forward in a package for George.

"...There are two possible Clipper trades that they could do for Paul George. One is they could combine Chris Paul, that contract Clippers would have to guarantee it next year, with Kuminga (and) with Gary Payton II for Paul George."

Bill Simmons

Bleacher Report's Doric Sam also proposes that the Warriors should trade Kuminga, along with Chris Paul and Trayce Jackson-Davis, for George as part of five potential deals for the two-way wing outlined on Tuesday.

George has been an All-Star in each of the last two years and nine times since 2013, while he's made six All-NBA Teams in his career but none since 2021. In a usual scenario trading Kuminga for this calibre of player would make sense, yet this isn't a normal situation by any means.

George can opt and become an unrestricted free agent, providing him the opportunity to leave without the Clippers getting anything in return. Golden State need to be ruthless in this situation -- not unfair by any means -- but in a way that makes it evident that LA are in a tough spot.

It does help that one team who had also been linked to a George trade -- the New York Knicks -- took themselves out of the market by trading for Brooklyn Nets' forward Mikal Bridges on Tuesday. It would help further if George were willing to tell the Clippers that he'll opt in but that he wants a trade to the Warriors, though there's no sign of that happening at this stage.

The Warriors will need to get creative -- they should be looking to get to the $48.8 million salary point by a different means, and use their future draft capital as lucrative assets rather than Kuminga. This is where a third team would likely need to get involved, one more interested in Golden State's future picks than LA who want to remain competitive in the Western Conference.

Does a Stephen Curry-Paul George duo promise you much in the West? Not really. But if you retain Kuminga alongside that pair, then all of a sudden there's the prospect of him exploding into a genuine star and the Warriors subsequently having a three-headed monster offensively. Combine that with the defensive exploits of Draymond Green and you might actually have something capable of a deep playoff run.