NBA.com draft expert Scott Howard-Cooper tweeted this week that the Warriors are interested in trading up from their 30th pick in Thursday’s draft, according to his sources.
Interesting development heading toward Thursday night: I’m hearing the Warriors are exploring the possibility of trading UP. Target unknown.
— Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) June 23, 2015
With the Warriors keen to offload David Lee and his over $15 million contract, packaging the former All-Star with the 30th pick is the most conceivable way to get him off the books. It seems unlikely, though, that Golden State would be able to leap significantly upward, if at all, without including something else in the package.
Howard-Cooper told Tim Kawakami on his “TK Show” podcast that he doesn’t think the move will happen, mostly because the Warriors would probably need to include the likes of Harrison Barnes to move up in any notable way. Parting with the 23-year-old who started every game last season is unlikely, especially if Lee couldn’t be worked into the deal.
In order to move Lee — which could save the Warriors up to $50 million next year — the most likely scenario might be packaging it with Lee for a replacement-level player or two, ideally with expiring contracts, as the Warriors do not want to take on new salary beyond this season.
The Warriors haven’t had a draft pick since 2012, Bob Meyers’ first draft, when they did the unthinkable by acquiring three key pieces in first-rounders Barnes and Festus Ezeli and second rounder Draymond Green.
Meyers has show the ability in the past to pull off implausible maneuvers with limited cap space (see acquisition of Andre Iguodala). That, coupled with the compiling of a team that just won 67 games en route to an NBA title, has earned Meyers and the Warriors brain trust the benefit of the doubt when it comes to cap and personnel management.