Editor's Note: This week, NBC Sports Bay Area will theorize hypothetical front-office acquisitions for each of our teams. Today, we examine a potential move the Warriors could make.
In the words of the great Howie Mandel, "Let's make a deal."
NBC Sports Bay Area has decided to make me the Warriors’ GM for the day, and I’ve got my eye on a big man unlike any Steve Kerr has had the chance to coach during his tenure in Golden State. That player is … Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner.
Indiana Pacers send: C Myles Turner, SF T.J. Warren
Warriors send: SF Andrew Wiggins, PF Eric Paschall
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This would be a move embracing the idea of the Warriors going all-in on restarting the dynasty that injuries to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, along with Kevin Durant’s departure, put on a year-long hold. Additionally, by not giving up either of their two valuable draft picks (top five in 2020, Minnesota Timberwolves' top-three protected pick in 2021), the Warriors can make a move now to better themselves in the present while not sacrificing the future.
Turner was drafted No. 11 overall by the Pacers in 2015 and possesses all of the skills expected of an elite starting center in today’s NBA. His ability to space the floor and shoot from 3 would make him an easy fit into Kerr’s offense, while his elite defensive ability would give the Warriors a rim protector better than any the organization has had in the 21st century.
Turner led the NBA in blocks per game in 2018-19 (2.7) and shot almost 39 percent from behind the arc. The Texas product has one of the most complete skillsets for a big man in the NBA today.
Despite all his success in Indiana, trade rumors have been swirling around Turner for several seasons, as the Pacers have somewhat of a logjam at the center spot. Domantas Sabonis was an All-Star this year and the Pacers also drafted the 6-foot-11 Goga Bitadze in the first round of last year’s draft. Sabonis got a significant extension last summer, leading many to believe Indiana would be fielding calls on Turner.
Reports have indicated that the Warriors want to hang on to Andrew Wiggins going into next season. But well over $90 million left on his contract isn’t ideal for an organization that has taken a healthy dip into the luxury tax over the past few seasons. Wiggins is a good player and could grow into a key piece for the Warriors, but him alone won't be enough to get the Warriors back to the top in 2020-21.
In order to make the numbers and value somewhat line up, there obviously are additional players that must be thrown into the mix.
Despite making Warriors fans swoon throughout his rookie season, Eric Paschall becomes key to providing balance to this deal. He’s a young power forward who significantly exceeded expectations and got a plethora of minutes due to the Warriors’ relenting wave of injuries. But he’s also not a consistent shooter from the outside and doesn’t match up ideally with Draymond Green in the Warriors’ rotation.
Given Paschall's upside, that should be enough also to net wing T.J. Warren in the deal. Warren was traded from Phoenix to the Pacers last summer, and is a very versatile scorer who wouldn’t be much of a drop-off on the defensive end from Wiggins. Warren also brings a strong ability to shoot from outside, as he finished last season at an eye-popping 42.8 percent from 3 on over four attempts a game.
Golden State would need to use some of the money from the Andre Iguodala trade exception to balance the books, but it would be worth it.
While losing a young player like Paschall would sting, Curry and Thompson both have made it clear that the Warriors’ dynasty is not over, and the team hopes to jump right back into contention next season. Warren and Turner bring immediate upgrades at the two positions where Golden State needs the most help.
Turner’s defensive expertise would take the pressure off of Green and Thompson, allowing them to more aggressively attack on the offensive end. Kerr’s ability to adapt his scheme based on personnel is what makes him one of the NBA’s better coaches, and finally having a center who can step out and space the floor would force opposing defenses to have to make very difficult decisions on every possession.
This move absolutely makes the Warriors a stronger team in 2019-20. Turner also is just 24 years old, allowing the Warriors to make him a cornerstone of the franchise going forward.
Imagine a starting lineup of Curry, Thompson, Warren, Green and Turner. The defensive versatility coupled with obvious offensive firepower would push the Warriors back up among the league’s best starting fives.
Deal, or no deal?