Grade the Trade: Warriors make huge upgrade in proposed summer homecoming

Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors and Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors and Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
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Grade the Trade: Do Warriors say yes?

From a pure asset evaluation, this deal looks like a win for the Warriors. Andrew Wiggins' contract is likely a negative on the trade market right now, and there is no assurance that he will play well enough to change that next season. Looney is having a down season himself, while Gary Payton II is always one moment away from another injury. The first-round pick included here has a very low upside.

Peeling back the layers, however, this isn't exactly a home run for the Warriors, either. Bruce Brown is having a down stretch of his own, struggling in Toronto after being merely fine in Indiana to start the season. He was perfectly deployed on the Denver Nuggets last season and won a championship, but he is not an easy fit around the league and is something of a slightly-shorter Draymond Green; less rim protection, but also less of a propensity to get himself suspended. Even so, his fit on the Warriors is not seamless, and his $23 million salary for next season is significant.

The Warriors have flirted with the idea of adding a true center for years, always trusting in the undersized Draymond Green and Kevon Looney or spending scant resources on the position, such as a late-second on rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis or minimum contracts on players like Dario Saric or Nemanja Bjelica. They famously broke that trend back in 2020 to bring in James Wiseman, one of the most painful draft busts in recent history.

Perhaps they push out of that philosophy under the pressure of Stephen Curry's dwindling prime, but Poeltl is under contract for another three seasons and would require them to completely change their offensive and defensive systems to accommodate him. It takes a certain kind of player to thrive with Curry and Draymond; GP2 and Loon have proven they can do that, while Brown and Poeltl would be true wild cards.

The Warriors should strongly consider trading Andrew Wiggins this summer. They should be open to moving Looney or Payton in the right deal. This, however, does not appear to be that deal. There are players out there who truly move the needle and who look like more seamless fits with the Warriors' stars and system. Bruce Brown and Jakob Poeltl are not those players.

This is the rare lose-lose deal; it would be an "upgrade" but it wouldn't be the best one they could make.

Grade: C+

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