STATELINE, Nev. – Even now, five weeks after the Warriors traded Jordan Poole, opinions keep rolling out, perhaps none stronger than the reaction expressed by the ever-audacious Charles Barkley.
“They hated Jordan Poole,” Barkley said in a recent conversation with NBC Sports Bay Area. “They really hated Jordan Poole. “That’s the No. 1 thing I said to myself: They really hated Jordan Poole.”
Barkley genuinely was surprised, perhaps even shocked. The Warriors were sending away a 24-year-old with star potential, someone who had helped them win the NBA Finals year earlier, and welcoming a 38-year-old nearing the end of his career. To be fair, Golden State’s decision – which followed considerable internal debate – initiated a palpable degree of puzzlement around the league.
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Barkley’s belief that the Warriors “hated” Poole is, however, based less on facts than his own opinion.
“Jordan, we can’t thank him enough for his contributions,” general manager Mike Dunleavy told reporters this month in Las Vegas. “We wouldn’t have a banner if it weren’t for him. He gave us everything he had for four years.
“We really appreciate what Jordan gave us. Told him he’ll always be a Warrior, always welcomed back.”
Some executives were not big supporters of sending Poole out, particularly knowing he would be swapped out for someone with so little remaining career.
Golden State Warriors
But, honestly, there was growing disenchantment with Poole last season. For all the offensive fireworks he was capable of, he too often strayed from the collective. His tendency to go solo too often – sometimes with disastrous results – disrupted the offensive principles required for building and refining a unit, rankling both teammates and coaches.
Trading Poole was not easy, but the principals at Chase Center believed it was necessary to return the Warriors back among the league’s elite – while also providing salary-cap relief beyond next season.
Furthermore, there is the belief that the trade to Washington will give Poole an opportunity to establish himself as a starting guard who can prosper as his team’s primary offensive catalyst.
“This is going to be a chance for him to reset,” Barkley conceded. “He had a tough year. He was peaks and valleys, so he needed a fresh start. I hope it works out for him.”
The Warriors, by and large, share that sentiment.