Grade the Trade: Warriors add dream target in aspirational pitch

Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors and Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz
Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors and Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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Grading the Trade: Do Warriors say yes?

Last season, the Golden State Warriors were buoyed by their stars and let down by their depth. This year it's the other way around, with Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson's slow starts and Draymond Green's absences weighing down what used to be an elite unit. Without the young players taking a step forward, the Warriors would likely be in even worse shape than they are.

Could the Warriors trade much of that depth for one player? The argument against is obvious; they can only play five players at a time, and they already have a "Top 6" clamoring for minutes. Adding Lauri Markkanen just makes it harder to sort out the starting and closing fives, while sacrificing all of the depth behind them. What happens when injuries strike? What if Chris Paul drops off or gets hurt? This team would be thin behind their key players.

At the same time, they would have an absolutely lethal Top 9. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Lauri Markkanen and Draymond Green would be a killer starting lineup, with Chris Paul, Gary Payton II, Dario Saric and Kevon Looney filling out the bench. They would be stuck plucking players out of retirement or out of the G League to fill out the 10-14 spots on the roster, but at full strength they would have a full rotation of proven veterans.

The offensive firepower of Lauri Markkanen and Stephen Curry running two-man actions is tremendous, and Markkanen looks like a player who would absolutely thrive in the Warriors' motion offense. Teams forced to defend three elite shooters on the perimeter would struggle to guard the paint, and Draymond Green would feast as a distributor.

The Warriors have a solid young core that could be crucial to staying in the playoffs in two and three years. The Warriors aren't trying to maximize 2026, however; they are trying to win another title with Stephen Curry, right now, before he exits his prime. This deal would be an awfully expensive one, but it would also bring another All-Star to join a core just two seasons removed from winning a title.

The upside is tremendous; the downside yawns as wide as a canyon. The Jazz likely don't pull the trigger for much short of this, but it's hard to imagine the Warriors stomaching such a rich cost for a fringe All-Star, no matter how excellently he would fit with Curry and the Warriors' offense. Even so, if the goal is a title, this is probably a deal worth making. Their depth protects their floor; adding an All-Star changes their ceiling.

Grade: B

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