Even though the Golden State Warriors may be one of the greatest teams we’ve ever seen — on par with the likes of the Chicago Bulls of the 90’s and Los Angeles Lakers of the 2000’s, that doesn’t mean that there’s not any room for improvement.
The Warriors’ four All-Stars in the form of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all obviously untouchable in trade discussions, and even a few of the Warriors’ key bench pieces like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston would be tough to part ways with, but that still leaves around half of the roster that the Golden State front office can play around with, even with their limited cap space, in an attempt to bolster their roster for the second half of the NBA season.
Here are four players that the Warriors could be looking at before the trade deadline arrives.
Kyle O’Quinn – New York Knicks
After a blazing hot start from first-time All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, the New York Knicks have begun to tumble down the Eastern Conference standings, sitting on a 21-27 record, good for 10th in the East.
Because of this fall, many have suggested that the Knicks are looking at a firesale, trading away some of their talent for younger pieces or draft picks, and according to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the Warriors have expressed interest in trading for Knicks backup center Kyle O’Quinn.
“Starting center Enes Kanter and backup center Kyle O’Quinn also have received interest from opposing executives, sources said, with members of the Golden State Warriors among those executives to express interest in 27-year-old big man O’Quinn.”
“O’Quinn has certainly outperformed his contract,” said David Jacober, a strategic planning consultant for NBA teams. “His diversity on offense makes him attractive to a number of teams, such as Houston and Golden State.”
It seems that many teams higher than the Knicks in the standings are keen on O’Quinn‘s skillset on offense, and the Warriors have the assets — such as Patrick McCaw and Kevon Looney, two young players the Knicks would love to have on their bench — to perhaps lure New York into dealing the center.
Enes Kanter – New York Knicks
Much like O’Quinn, various teams are interested in the Knicks starting center as well as their backup big man, as Enes Kanter has been reportedly receiving calls from other teams, as outlined above by Begley.
Kanter has proven to be an invaluable teammate while in OKC, and has carried that same demeanor with him to New York. That sort of camaraderie could only improve Golden State’s locker room chemistry, which is arguably already the best in the league.
In his first season with New York, Kanter is averaging 13.5 PPG and 10.0 RPG a game for the Knickerbockers, and his body underneath the offense glass could prove invaluable to Golden State’s outside shooting nature.
It also helps that Kanter has some serious beef with LeBron James.
Jordan Clarkson – Los Angeles Lakers
Although a bit of stretch, it’s not out of the realms of possibility that Golden State could come in and swoop up Jordan Clarkson, who is reportedly being shopped by the Lakers front office.
JC has been balling for the Lakers this season off the bench, posting averages of 14.4 points and 3.3 assists a game in only 23.5 minutes a game, and has scored at least 22 points in his past three games, including a 33-point performance against the Indiana Pacers.
Clarkson has been involved in more and more trade scenarios as the trade deadline nears, and given that the Lakers don’t own any first-round draft picks at all in the upcoming draft, if the Warriors happen to dangle a first-rounder in front of the Lakers — even if it does fall towards the tail end of the draft — along with a young bench piece, Jordan could be heading to Oracle Arena.
Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers
Perhaps one of the most talked-about trade targets this season other than DeAndre Jordan, it seems like Julius Randle has been on the trade block ever since the season started.
Just like his teammate Clarkson, the power forward has been coming off the bench and posting great numbers this year, averaging 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds a game in 23.3 minutes per contest.
Recently, Randle has been dominating the boards for LA, posting double-digit rebounding numbers in his past two outings.
With the emergence of rookie Kyle Kuzma, and the liklihood that Randle demands a lot more than the Lakers can offer in free agency after this season, LA may be looking to offload Randle for next to nothing if they’re desperate enough, opening the window for Golden State to swoop in with a late pick and either Patrick McCaw or Kevon Looney.