Grade the Trade: Warriors give up on Kuminga for star forward in tantalizing pitch

Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz and Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors
Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz and Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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Could the Warriors consider this trade?

Whether or not the Warriors would even consider this trade comes down to the question of whether they believe that they can contend for a title this season if they got an offensive co-star onto the roster. With Chris Paul, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all remaining on the roster after this deal (not to mention Gary Payton II, Dario Saric and the young pairing of Brandin Podiemski and Moses Moody) it's possible the Warriors' front office still believes this group can win it all.

If so, Lauri Markkanen is a simply marvelous fit. His size and shooting are excellent fits, the spiritual heir to Kevin Durant on this Warriors team. He can run all sorts of creative actions with Curry and Klay, stretching defenses past their breaking point. Defensively, he is a true seven-footer who plays hard even if he's not a difference-maker on that end.

The question is not whether Markkanen would be an amazing fit; he certainly would be. The question is the cost, and it is steep. The Warriors would be moving on from their rising star in Kuminga, and then on top of him giving away their two remaining unprotected first-round picks. Whatever your opinion on Andrew Wiggins' contract, this would also take away Wiggins on top of Kuminga, sacrificing a lot of perimeter defense.

Adding Kris Dunn would help in that department, as he is something of a Gary Payton II-lite option at either point guard or on the wing. Kelly Olynyk is likely redundant given the presence of Dario Saric, but he's certainly not negative salary and could be re-signed this summer if Saric walks.

The allure of adding Lauri Markkanen is tempting, and two months ago this trade would be an easy "yes' for the Warriors. Now, however, Kuminga is proving himself to be on a special trajectory, and it's at least a reasonable chance that Kuminga ends up as a better player than Markkanen. This is simply too much to give up for a player who can walk after 2024-25. The Warriors' future lies with Jonathan Kuminga, not in place of.

Grade: C