Grade the Trade: Warriors give up their future for unproven star in latest proposal

The Golden State Warriors could trade all of their young players for an All-Star, but if they do that they better make sure it's the right player.
Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors and Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz
Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors and Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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Why the Warriors should reject this trade

This trade would be a disaster for the Warriors.

Lauri Markkanen is certainly an excellent player and would be a great fit alongside Stephen Curry. The shooting and off-ball movement of both Curry and Markkanen would stretch defenses to their breaking point. Markkanen's height would allow him and Draymond to pair up in the frontcourt in closing lineups and still maintain size and length in the paint. Markkanen is on a bargain contract for this year and would give them the flexibility to retain other players for next season.

At the same time, this is an all-in move for a non-all-in player. Markkanen, for all that he is an excellent fit, is not a Top-20 player in the league. He has also never played in a single playoff game, and his only experience on a team even playing for anything was on the 2021-22 Cleveland Cavaliers, who loss in the Play-In Tournament.

Draymond talks about "16 game players" and the Warriors have no idea if Markkanen can step up to that challenge. Making this deal would be about winning the title right now, in 2024-25. Trusting that Markkanen will be prepared for the bright lights and immediately able to enter the Warriors mind meld on the highest stage?

This deal would also strip away the team's vital depth and put a lot of strain on their veterans to play significant minutes. At the same time it would hard-cap them at the second tax apron, meaning they would have to say goodbye to either Chris Paul or Klay Thompson. Most likely, if Thompson walks, they would be stuck trying to use a complete lack of assets to turn Chris Paul into a useful and less expensive player.

Jonathan Kuminga may not be ready to be Curry's No. 2 right now, but he's not far off, and his upside is even higher than Markkanen's. Moses Moody and Brandin Podziemski are two-way wings, the most valued commodity in the NBA, and Podziemski has another three seasons at a bargain level before he is due for a pay raise. Those two first-round picks are both valuable and the Warriors' best chips for making an upgrade; spending every single bullet on this deal prevents them from doing anything else.

Could a starting lineup of Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Markkanen, Draymond and Trayce Jackson-Davis be good enough to win a title? Perhaps, but they certainly wouldn't be title favorites, and the lack of depth behind them would make it extremely difficult to survive the regular season healthy and likely mean they enter the playoffs with a lower seed and an even more difficult path to the title.

The Warriors should only offer up this trade package for a clear Top-10 player; anything less would be a disaster and an admission that the Warriors don't want to win now or later. Markkanen is a great player who would be a great fit on the Warriors; he's not good enough to justify this superstar package.

Grade: D

2023 NBA Redraft: Podziemski skies into the Top 10 as Warriors land forward. 2023 NBA Redraft: Podziemski skies into the Top 10 as Warriors land forward. dark. Next