Recent rotation move suggests Golden State Warriors are about to make a trade

Golden State Warriors v Atlanta Hawks
Golden State Warriors v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors' rotation has been stretched to its depths over the last week, with veterans Chris Paul and Gary Payton II still sidelined by injury and third-year wing Moses Moody having just returned after a nine-game absence.

Steve Kerr was also without an ill Klay Thompson against the Philadelphia 76ers last week, while Dario Saric then missed two games for the same issue. To top things off, Andrew Wiggins suffered an ankle injury against the Atlanta Hawks that put him out for the second-half (and overtime) of that meeting, along with Monday's win over the Brooklyn Nets.

A recent rotation move from Steve Kerr suggests the Golden State Warriors are about to pull a minor trade before the deadline

Despite all the injuries/illness, there's been no room in the rotation for veteran point-guard Cory Joseph over the last three games. The 32-year-old was signed as someone who could provide a steady presence when Paul inevitably got injured, yet Kerr has instead turned to two-way contracted guard Lester Quinones.

Quinones has won the minutes on merit -- the 23-year-old has averaged 8.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.3 minutes across the last four games. Quinones has shot 43.4% from three-point range in that span, including four made threes as Golden State's second-leading scorer in a career-high 17-point outing against the Hawks on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Joseph has become the perennial whipping boy that many Warrior fans grow tired of as the season progresses. The 10-year veteran has averaged 2.2 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in his 11.6 minutes per game -- hardly inspiring numbers also worsened by his 33.3% shooting from the floor.

But while Quinones' place above Joseph in the rotation is one based on form and production, there could well be another reason. As The Athletic's John Hollinger outlined, there's a chance Golden State trade Joseph and sign Quinones to the main roster, thus saving million in luxury tax penalties.

"While we're here, the Warriors would also save millions in tax penalties by trading Cory Joseph's minimum contract and signing two-way Lester Quinones to a roster spot for the minimum."

John Hollinger

The Athletic's Anthony Slater also proposed a similar idea on the Warriors Plus-Minus podcast, but finding a team to take Joseph's contract still offers a stumbling block. Still, the recent rotation decision would suggest it's a move that may be just a matter of hours away.