Ranking 8 players Warriors could realistically target with new trade exception

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz
Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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The Golden State Warriors have officially said goodbye to Klay Thompson, with the franchise legend departing to the Dallas Mavericks in a three-team sign-and-trade reportedly finalized on Monday.

While Thompson heads to the Mavericks and Josh Green to the Charlotte Hornets, the Warriors received two second-round picks in the deal. The real saving grace comes in the form of a nearly $16 million trade exception, allowing the front office to further explore deals this offseason.

The Golden State Warriors will now have a valuable trade exception to potentially utilize on the trade market this offseason

A trade exception permits a team (in this case Golden State) to absorb a player onto their roster without the need for any outgoing salary. The Warriors can now deal for a player making less than $16 million without trading one of their own, though they cannot aggregate the trade exception with other salaries. For example, the franchise cannot trade Gary Payton II ($9.1 million), Kevon Looney ($8 million) and utilize the trade exception ($16 million) to add a player making around $30 million.

That means it's practically impossible for them to trade for a star, unless said player is still on a rookie contract. It does open up the possibility of acquiring a valuable rotation player, perhaps even someone who could be considered a potential starter.

The most recent notable example of this from a Golden State perspective is when they utilized a trade exception created by dealing Andre Iguodala in 2019, landing Kelly Oubre Jr. in 2020 from the Oklahoma City Thunder for what resulted as two second-round picks.

While losing Thompson is a bitter pill to swallow, the Warriors have an opportunity to salvage something from the wreck. Let's rank eight realistic targets the franchise could target with the trade exception: