Warriors Could Land Elite Defensive Big Man in Trade

Warriors Could Land Elite Defensive Big Man in Trade
Myles Turner

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Myles Turner celebrates a play in a game against the Detroit Pistons.

Tea Golden State Warriors have been patient with big man James Wiseman as he worked through rookie struggles and spent close to a season-and-a-half rehabbing a knee injury, but the time could soon come for the team to make a final decision on his future.

If that decision is to move on and take another swing at finding a skilled big man, an elite defensive center could be waiting in the wings.


Warriors Could Snag Indiana Pacers Big Man

The Warriors have been linked to Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner many times over the past two seasons, with insiders suggesting the Warriors could give up on the Wiseman project and trade for the more accomplished Turner. Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley named Turner as Golden State’s “dream target” this offseason, and his Bleacher Report colleague Greg Swartz wrote on September 6 that Turner could soon be available.

Swartz noted that with the Pacers moving into a rebuild, Turner could be a valuable trade asset.

“Turner has seemingly been on the trade block for years, and may finally be moved off a rebuilding Pacers team before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer,” he wrote.

“Durability issues have plagued him in recent seasons, but Turner is a two time blocks leader who held opponents to 54.5 percent shooting at the rim last season. Add in his floor-spacing ability at age 26, and Indiana should still be able to get a first-round pick for the defensive ace.”

The Warriors’ recent title run showed the importance of a rim-protecting big man. Kevon Looney, the closest thing to a traditional center last year on a Warriors team that often preferred to play small, played an outsized role in grabbing rebounds and defending some of the elite big men the Warriors faced along their run.

If the Warriors decide that Wiseman’s development isn’t coming along the way they had hoped, the 26-year-old Turner could be a good replacement while still fitting within the team’s “two-timeline” plan to build a young core that can keep them in title contention beyond the Steph Curry/Klay Thompson/Draymond Green era.

There is more than just idle speculation about the idea of ​​Turner coming to the Bay Area. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported last summer that the Warriors front office had toyed with the idea of ​​trading for Turner and even entered some discussions with the Pacers.


Turner Trade Could Be Costly for Warriors

The Warriors would likely have to part with some young assets in a trade, with second-year wing Jonathan Kuminga a likely target. Though Kuminga has shown flashes of brilliant play and showed steady improvement over his rookie season, a recent report about his attitude off the court sparked rumors that he could be on the trade block.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said on First Take that he’s heard some disturbing reports on Kuminga.

“I’m not getting in his personal business; I’m not saying nothing like that,” Smith said. “I’m talking attitude, I’m not talking actions. I’m saying that attitude, the level of focus, commitment, determination, just putting your head down — doing the work. I’m hearing that he’s shortchanging the Warriors in that regard, and he gotta get his act together, because I’m a Jonathan Kuminga fan.”

Landing Turner would likely require a blockbuster trade with more than just Kuminga as a centerpiece. SI.com’s Ben Stinar suggested in December that the Warriors would be willing to move Wiseman in a deal for Turner, along with another veteran player.

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