Warriors must make three trades following their terrible play-in elimination

The Golden State Warriors were once a perennial powerhouse in the NBA. Now, find themselves at a crossroads after a disappointing 2023-24 season. Despite boasting a roster filled with talent and experience, the team failed to meet expectations. They crashed out of the postseason earlier than anticipated. As the dust settles, it’s clear that significant changes are needed to reinvigorate the squad and return to championship contention. Here are three trades the Warriors must consider to turn their fortunes around: acquiring Lauri Markkanen, Brandon Ingram, and Dorian Finney-Smith.

Reflecting on the Warriors’ 2023 season

Apr 16, 2024; Sacramento, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) sits on the bench during action against the Sacramento Kings in the fourth quarter during a play-in game of the 2024 NBA playoffs at the Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports © Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors now find themselves in a state of uncertainty as they enter the 2024 offseason. With a hefty payroll and a roster comprising aging stars and still-developing prospects, the pressure is mounting. This is especially true with Steph Curry now 36 years old. Several key players are approaching free agency, and more could depart if the team’s trade market ambitions materialize. The path forward is fraught with uncertainty and potential challenges.

Here we will look at the three trades the Golden State Warriors must make after getting swept by the Timberwolves.

Trading for Lauri Markkanen

Considering a trade for Lauri Markkanen involves some tough decisions for the Warriors. The harsh reality might mean letting Klay Thompson leave in free agency. They may even have to consider trades for Draymond Green, and even give Stephen Curry the option to stay or be traded. However, ending an era isn’t usually so abrupt or complete.

The Warriors’ situation is unique because Curry remains a top player. This creates both an obligation and a drive to seek immediate transformational moves. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Golden State needs another star to have any hope of reopening their championship window.

The promising performances of young players like Jonathan Kuminga, Brandin Podziemski, Trayce Jackson-Davis, and the inconsistently used Moses Moody complicate the decision-making process. The Warriors are in a peculiar position where they are neither entirely rebuilding nor fully competitive.

Markkanen, however, fits the bill. Acquiring him will be difficult, as the Utah Jazz seem keen to retain him. That said, with their young assets and the potential to offer two first-round picks and up to four pick swaps, the Warriors have viable starting points.

Pairing Markkanen with Curry, Green, a re-signed Thompson, or Kuminga may not guarantee a return to title contention. They might still need a higher-level creator. Yet, Markkanen’s presence would make the Warriors formidable up front. He just completed his second season averaging over 23 points per game, shooting more than 55 percent on twos and 39 percent on threes.

Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) spins to the basket against San Antonio Spurs guard Tre Jones (33) during the fourth quarter at Delta Center Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Adding Brandon Ingram

On paper, Brandon Ingram should be untouchable. He’s a 26-year-old star coming off one of his most efficient seasons. He has averaged at least 20 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds in each of the past four seasons. Take note that only eight other players have done the same.

Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown Named Players Of The Week | Hoops Rumors

However, Ingram’s health is a concern. After playing 79 games in his rookie season of 2016-17, he hasn’t reached the 70-game mark since. He has not become the defensive player his physical attributes suggest he could be. In addition, Ingram just endured a disappointing series in New Orleans’ first-round exit.

There’s a chance the Pelicans might consider trading him this summer. Ingram isn’t the perimeter shooter one might want alongside Curry. Still, his ability to create for himself and his teammates would be extremely valuable. Additionally, Curry’s gravitational pull and the Warriors’ system might help Ingram achieve even greater offensive efficiency.

Acquiring Dorian Finney-Smith

At their peak, the Warriors have relied on wings capable of defending various assignments while providing reliable shooting. This is precisely the role of someone like Dorian Finney-Smith. That said, his shooting has dipped in the past two seasons. He shot 38.9 percent from three-point range during the three seasons prior.

Remembering Dorian Finney-Smith's 7 years in Dallas: 'He had that shark  mindset' - The Athletic

Meanwhile, Andrew Wiggins has declined in both shooting volume and efficiency. Given his inconsistent shooting before joining Golden State, the Warriors cannot assume he will regain his form. Additionally, they cannot consistently rely on Kuminga for notable shooting volume or efficiency.

Thus, the Warriors may desperately need a three-and-D wing. This is especially true if Klay Thompson leaves in free agency. Finney-Smith excels at versatile defense, and his three-point shot could improve when playing alongside Curry.

Looking Ahead

The Golden State Warriors must navigate a challenging offseason to address their weaknesses and rejuvenate their roster. Trading for Lauri Markkanen, adding Brandon Ingram, and acquiring Dorian Finney-Smith are three moves that could significantly impact their future. These trades would not only bolster the team’s immediate prospects. They would also ensure that the Warriors remain competitive and relevant in the seasons to come.

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