Breaking: Warriors trade Burks, Robinson to 76ers for three second-round picks

One of the more reliable trade assumptions around the league came true Wednesday night when the Golden State Warriors traded wing players, Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson to the Philadelphia 76ers. Golden State held both players out of action against the Nets, a game that was an emotional gut punch of a loss.

In exchange, the Warriors shore up an institutional need: a bunch of low cost shots at incoming NBA players (plus some dumped salary).

It’s not a painless loss.

From a pure basketball perspective, this really cements “the tank.” Robinson and Burks were number one and number two for total minutes played for the Warriors this year, as per basketball reference.

Burks was third in scoring on the team (16 points per game), Robinson fifth (13 points). They also rank second and third in total three pointers made this year, and Burks is fourth on the team in assists.

I was particularly hopeful that the Warriors would retain Robinson, whose low usage, efficient outside shot, and solid perimeter defense would have been a perfect fit with next year’s fully weaponized Warriors team. In a league that prizes “3 and D” wing players, Robinson fit the bill. He had the third best scoring efficiency on the team (.574 TS%), while taking the defensive assignment against the opposing team’s best perimeter player.

If you thought the offense was bad before this trade (literally the worst), get ready to watch a month of this Warriors team seeking a new identity. Steph Curry will return at the beginning of March; but until then the Warriors are most assuredly headed with the wind along their path to a top pick in this year’s NBA draft. These were two significant rotation players that Golden State just traded.

Where to from here?

Robinson and Burks, both cheap, came to the Warriors with the hopes of playing alongside Stephen Curry and hopefully putting a toehold for a spot in the organization moving forward. Burks will probably get the most mention in this move, but in my opinion Robinson was the better fit and superior player. Regardless of where you prioritize each player, it’s impossible to understate the impact this move will have on Golden State. It was felt quite clearly in the face of the stomping the team took at the hands of the Nets - and with Kobe Bryant’s recent passing, just adds to a general sense of pall around the team.

Also, this move is not quite enough to drop the Warriors below the dreaded luxury tax line, which will trigger the even more punitive repeater tax for the upcoming 2020-2021 season. These numbers have been known for a while but basically the point was that the team had to either trade Kevon Looney (which they are rightly reluctant to do), or tack on additional trades of someone like Omari Spellman. Worst case scenario would be the Warriors attaching one of these incoming second round picks to say Jordan Poole or Jacob Evans.

Unlikely. But possible, especially if the team is really thinking three years out - it makes a lot of sense to avoid the repeater tax, which compounds the tax penalty for teams that exceed the cap in any three out of four seasons.

Instead, I would guess that the Warriors - who will need to sign at least one more contract in order to meet NBA roster minimums - will use the open roster spot to call back Ky Bowman and put him on a full contract. It leaves a gaping hole at the wings, a position already rice paper thin for Golden State and likely pushes the quest for real answers into next season.

So Golden State will move on, possibly making another move if they prioritize avoiding the repeater tax.

Philadelphia just got significantly better.Though Burks and Robinson aren’t major stars, they are valuable rotation-quality players that are playing well.

Good trade.