Warriors fans watching the NBA playoffs most likely are salivating at the concept of a potential trade for Marcus Smart this offseason.
What is not to like? He is a bulldog on the court, constantly hustling and fighting on defense, while hitting timely 3's on the other end.
According to Tom Haberstroh, Smart and the Warriors would be a match made in heaven.
"Marcus Smart would be a perfect player for the Golden State Warriors," Haberstroh told NBC Sports Bay Area. "(He's) a guy who can guard, just about one through five, a PJ Tucker type. You see a lot of players in the league try to be a defensive guy in this small-ball era, but they can't do the things that Marcus Smart can. Also shooting the 3-ball. He'd be the perfect fit next to Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry."
Rumors have swirled for months that the Boston Celtics could consider shedding some money, with so much committed to their star wings. This speculation has led many to think that the Warriors could pursue Smart, and even absorb his contract with the trade exception if the right deal could be met.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, this dream acquisition does not sound very realistic as of now.
"The issue is, why would Boston give him up? They are trying to win a championship too," Haberstroh explained, "so I don't see Boston Celtics giving up Marcus Smart because he fills a lot of the same needs that the Warriors would want in a player like that.
Golden State Warriors
"And also, for Golden State Warriors fans, trading Draymond Green would be heresy right? This is how people would think about Marcus Smart, he's the heart and soul of that team, and as Marcus Smart goes, so do the Boston Celtics. So it would be hard to see the Warriors acquiring him."
So if Smart is off the table, who could the Warriors pursue instead?
Haberstroh brought up one under-the-radar option that might fit the Warriors need to fill the backup point guard position.
"At this point, I think it is better suited for the Warriors to focus their energy on a guy like Kris Dunn in Chicago. Another guy who is a wing defender, he's 26 years old and I think could come at a lot cheaper price than Marcus Smart."
Dunn is a 6-foot-3, lanky point guard that was highly regarded coming out of college, with the Minnesota Timberwolves eventually selecting him at fifth overall in the 2016 draft. Dunn had not lived up to expectations, even after a trade to the Chicago Bulls where his playing time increased. He shot a career-high 35 percent from 3-point range last season, but struggled mightily from beyond the arc this year, only making 26 percent of his attempts.
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His calling card has been his defense thus far in the NBA, however, as Haberstroh calls him "an amazing perimeter defender" and figures that he would be "a lot better in that system in Golden State."
The Bulls are not expected to extend Dunn the estimated $7 million qualifying offer, which would then take away his restricted status, making him an unrestricted free agent. The Warriors then could pursue Dunn with a minimum contract offer, or part of the midlevel exception.
Could a team take a chance and pay Dunn more than the Warriors would be willing (or able) to give? Possibly. But given the financial ramifications from the pandemic, it is unlikely that many teams will throw extra money towards projects like Dunn.
The Warriors might be the right team to give Dunn a chance and see if he can live up to his potential. If he even remotely plays like Smart, then their depth would be improved dramatically.