Golden State Warriors' last minute trade could have greater impact than initially thought

Golden State Warriors v Milwaukee Bucks
Golden State Warriors v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors waited till the final minute of the NBA trade deadline to make a move, eventually dealing Cory Joseph and cash to the Indiana Pacers for a second-round pick.

On the surface it's an incredibly minor move, particularly given speculation had continued to arise on Andrew Wiggins' future right up until the deadline. The Joseph trade was also one forecast over recent days, so it comes as little surprise that the franchise moved on from the veteran point-guard.

The Golden State Warriors' next decision seems a fait accompli, but they do hold the ability to make a more impactful move

Joseph's departure opens up a roster spot for Golden State, one that's likely to be filled by two-way contracted guard Lester Quinones. As outlined by The Athletic's John Hollinger earlier in the week, converting Quinones to a standard contract in place of Joseph will save the franchise millions in luxury tax payments.

The 23-year-old has impressed in recent opportunity in Steve Kerr's rotation, averaging 10.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists over the last four games, while shooting 47.6% from three-point range.

Quinones' play has merited a place on the main roster, with the young guard having won the G League's Most Improved Player last season and also impressed for the Warriors in Summer League last year.

Lester Quinones, Brandin Podziemski
Golden State Warriors v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

However, if Golden State do claw themselves into a playoff spot, it's incredibly unlikely that Quinones is going to have any impact come the postseason. Instead, they could look at the buyout market to find a veteran piece that could be more meaningful to their playoff hopes.

A number of players have already become available in the wake of the trade deadline, giving contending teams another avenue to add experienced talent. More players are expected to become available as teams finalize their rosters over the coming days.

It's important to acknowledge that the Warriors cannot sign a player on the buyout market who was previously making more than the mid-level exception (approximately $12.2 million). That eliminates them from any possibility of adding Spencer Dinwiddie, perhaps the most high-profile option after he was waived by the Toronto Raptors (following a trade with the Brooklyn Nets).

Whether or not there's a viable option for Golden State will be explored in coming days, noting that any move will cost ownership millions in contrast to simply signing Quinones to a standard deal.

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