Golden State Warriors could indirectly benefit from rival forward's trade rejection

Washington Wizards v Golden State Warriors
Washington Wizards v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Despite a recent uptick that's seen them win seven of their last eight games, the Golden State Warriors remain with an uphill battle as they sit 10th in the Western Conference just prior to the All-Star break.

As a result, the Warriors will rely somewhat on the form of rival teams above and around them in the standings. One of those is the Dallas Mavericks who currently sit 3.5 games above Golden State with a 31-23 record.

The Golden State Warriors will indirectly benefit from the Dallas Mavericks' failed trade pursuit of Washington Wizards' forward Kyle Kuzma

While the Mavericks upgraded their roster at the trade deadline with the additions of P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford, it could have been even better for Dallas had they got their hands on Washington Wizards' forward Kyle Kuzma.

The Mavericks' interest in Kuzma was well reported ahead of the deadline, but it's now been revealed that a trade was essentially blocked by the 28-year-old who wanted to remain in Washington. The framework of a Kuzma-to-Dallas deal to was in place, as the man himself recently confirmed to The Athletic.

"“Winger (Wizards President) presented me with what the trade was and obviously didn’t want to trade me and kind of left the decision up to me a little bit and asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to stay and continue to build something. And that was kind of the end of it.”"

Kyle Kuzma
Kyle Kuzma
Golden State Warriors v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Kuzma's response is commendable, albeit a little strange given the Wizards appear a mile away from any semblance of contention. The 2020 NBA champion has averaged 21.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists this season, and adding his offensive talent to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving would have likely made the Mavericks a greater threat out West.

Not only could Golden State benefit from Kuzma's rejection in the overall standings, but it's also notable given the surging Warriors will face the Mavericks three times after the All-Star break.

That trio of matchups appear critical to the Warriors' hopes of either securing a top six seed, or at least finishing seventh or eighth to ensure two opportunities in the Play-In Tournament. Dallas claimed a 132-122 victory over Golden State in their first outing on December 30.

The Warriors will head to Washington later this month to play Kuzma, Jordan Poole and the Wizards, having beaten them in the teams' first meeting at Chase Center on December 22.