NBA Rumors: Warriors expected to keep maligned forward in shock offseason twist

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers
Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers / Amanda Loman/GettyImages

In the immediate aftermath of the Golden State Warriors' disastrous Play-In Tournament exit, it was clear that one name would likely enter trade discussions throughout the offseason.

According to The Ringer's Logan Murdock the day following the Warriors' elimination, league sources were of the belief that "Andrew Wiggins will be included in trade talks this summer as the Warriors look to improve their roster."

One report suggests that Andrew Wiggins is a strong chance to remain with the Golden State Warriors heading into next season

Just over a month removed from Murdock's report and it appears the perspective on Wiggins' future may have shifted somewhat, at least according to The Athletic's Tim Kawakami in a piece on Tuesday.

After heavy speculation regarding Wiggins' future prior to February's mid-season deadline, Kawakami now suggests that if the Canadian "was going to be traded, it probably would've already happened."

"While his $26.3 million salary next season would be helpful in any July salary matching, and I believe the Warriors considered trading him last February, the disparity between his trade value and his actual value to the Warriors as their best on-ball defender makes it tricky. If Wiggins was going to be traded, it probably would’ve already happened."

Tim Kawakami

Kawakami is certainly correct in evaluating Wiggins' value to Golden State as far superior to what it is in league circles, even despite a career-worst year for the 2022 All-Star who averaged 13.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists on 45.3% shooting from the floor and 35.8% from three-point range.

Perhaps the biggest issue with trading Wiggins is the lack of small-forward's currently on the Warrior roster -- Klay Thompson has historically been a shooting-guard, head coach Steve Kerr has yet to show consistent trust in Moses Moody, and Jonathan Kuminga is currently pigeonholed as a power forward having been unable to garner the respect of opposing defenses from beyond the arc.

If Wiggins were to get traded this offseason, it may require a direct upgrade on the type of player he is -- say Mikal Bridges for example. Even another small-forward like Brandon Ingram would be an offensive upgrade, yet would leave some issues for Golden State defensively.

Kawakami believes the Warriors are more likely to aggregate Chris Paul's non-guaranteed $30 million contract and future draft assets in a trade, though that may also depend on the future of veteran sharpshooter Klay Thompson who's headed for free agency.