Young forward's development could open up obvious trade for Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz
Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors may enter the offseason with plenty of questions to answer, yet they're likely to remain with just as many when they prepare to retake the hardwood at the start of their 2024-25 campaign.

Whereas most championship-contending teams have a stable starting lineup, the Warriors were never able to form a consistent opening five throughout the entire 82-game season. That ultimately came back to haunt them, with their lineup instability often reflected in their on-court production.

An obvious trade will develop for the Golden State Warriors should Jonathan Kuminga develop into a reliable small-forward

Golden State found their best starting five with Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and Draymond Green in the frontcourt, but playing the latter as a full-time starting center is unsustainable over the course of an entire year.

The Warriors also rediscovered the defensive value of Green once he went back to his usual power-forward role after a Kuminga injury, with Trayce Jackson-Davis partnering him in a lineup that went 9-2 over the last 11 games of the season.

What's the solution with the Kuminga-Green-Jackson-Davis trio? Well according to head coach Steve Kerr, it could very much be about Kuminga developing his skills to the point of transitioning from a power-forward into a small-forward.

"Can he become a better passer? I think he sees the floor pretty well, but his fundamentals in terms of passing have to improve if he’s going to play the three. We need him to play the three if we want to have Trayce out there at the five and Draymond at the four. That ideally would be a great defensive lineup. But we’re not ready for that yet as a team."

Steve Kerr

As defensively intriguing as that frontcourt would be, the lack of spacing and three-point shooting makes it unviable at present. However, if Kuminga can develop that part of his game along with his ball-handling, and Green can once again shoot near enough to 40% from deep, then it could be a combination that Kerr can dive into.

The obvious question would then become what happens to Andrew Wiggins? The 2022 All-Star will once again find his name in trade speculation this offseason, but at this point the Warriors still have a desperate need for the two-way skillset he delivers when anywhere near his best.

Yet if Kuminga can develop a large percentage of that and continue bringing his own unique skills to the table, then it will become all the more obvious for Golden State to trade Wiggins and the final three years of his contract.

It's a big offseason for Kuminga who will seek to win back his starting spot in training camp, while the 21-year-old is also eligible for a contract extension where he could command more than $30 million per season.