Trade for 2023 NBA champ could provide pathway out from Warriors' long-term payroll

Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets
Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob has been vocal about his aspirations to reduce the team's payroll in the coming years, though that's easier said than done given the franchise also hopes of returning to championship contention next season.

The Warriors have had the league's highest payroll in three of the past four seasons, having already made moves in the past 12-18 months to address the unsustainable nature of their roster finances. The James Wiseman for Gary Payton II trade last February certainly had a financial element, but even more so was the Jordan Poole for Chris Paul transaction that saw Golden State get off the former's four-year, $128 million contract.

Trading 2022 All-Star Andrew Wiggins for 2023 NBA champion Bruce Brown could help solve the Golden State Warriors' payroll issues

The Warriors financial future will largely be determined on what happens with Paul and Klay Thompson this offseason, yet Andrew Wiggins' contract also presents as an avenue to open up greater flexibility moving forward.

The 28-year-old has three years and about $85 million left on his deal, with his form having taken a steep decline this season which led to an array of trade speculation. That will only increase again this offseason as Wiggins' salary is seen as the likely filler in any trade for a star-level player.

However, if Golden State wish to simply move off the remaining years of Wiggins' contract, they could look at sending the Canadian home to the Toronto Raptors for 2023 NBA champion Bruce Brown.

Brown is set to become available during the offseason, having been traded to the Raptors from Indiana in the deal for Pascal Siakam mid-season. According to the Toronto Star's Doug Smith, Toronto are expected to pick up Brown's $23 million team option before exploring a trade.

"The sense from a handful of league sources is that the Raptors are likely to pick up the option, then turn around and deal Brown quickly rather than wait until the 2025 trade deadline."

Doug Smith

Brown was vitally important to the Nuggets' championship team last season, having averaged 12 points, four rebounds and over a steal in 26.5 minutes per game during the playoffs. While he wouldn't necessarily be an upgrade as such, and he'd likely come off the bench, Brown could be an impactful piece that allows the franchise to shave long-term money.