(updated) Warriors Trade Exception Tourney, Bonus Round: Aaron Gordon, Gary Harris, Myles Turner, Terry Rozier
You make the call.
(update June 13 2020) Final results of the poll are at the end…
Bridge Trade Targets: Advanced Cap-Fu
We just ran a nice little tournament studying 16 players under contract for less than $17.2m, the size of the Warriors trade exception, and whom teams might trade to the Warriors for (possibly extremely protected) draft picks.
For simplicity, we studied only players who could be directly traded into the trade exception. Now, for a bonus round, we are considering players who GSW could acquire through some tricky cap gymnastics.
The idea is that the trade exception usually cannot be combined with players, so you can’t trade for an $18m player with the $17.2m trade exception and another player to match salaries. But you could get a player with the trade exception who could then be flipped with another player in a normal trade.
One example from Anthony Slater on getting Aaron Gordon:
The Warriors can’t get Gordon (or anyone above the $17.2 million threshold) with the exception. You can’t combine salary to it to bump it higher, either.
But what about a bridge plan? Let’s use James Johnson as an example. He has a $16 million player option this upcoming season, an overpriced number the Timberwolves won’t want to pay. If the Warriors don’t find another appealing option before the exception expires, they could offer to take on a salary like Johnson’s and perhaps even get another draft pick to do so.
Here are four players who make a little more than the trade exception that have been floated as possibly available in trade. In fact, some came up as suggestions in the tournament, with people not realizing their salaries didn’t directly fit:
6'9" FORWARD, 24.7 YEARS OLD
First up is a player many thought should have won the last few All-Star Dunk Contests.
When he’s not throwing down over mascots, he actually plays ball. Gordon makes a lot of money for a team going apparently nowhere, and which has been giving Jonathan Isaac more and more focus. So he might be available for trade, and the Warriors reportedly were in talks for a Russell-Gordon swap.
For the last four years, he’s been a high-usage player but below average efficiency. His assist rate is excellent, even for the usage rate, and he mostly hangs on to the ball.
As you might expect, his shooting is below average everywhere except at the rim.
His numbers are interesting because he’s classified as a Big in 2017-18 and a Forward in 18-19 and 19-20, but his rates have stayed fairly similar. For a forward, he’s been an above-average blocker and rebounder on both ends, but below average for steals. But as a Big, everything flips: he’s below average at blocks and rebounding, but above average for steals.
He’s a tweener and GSW would likely want him to play big in a small lineup.
6'4" WING, 25.7 YEARS OLD
Gary Harris was a couple of years ago an under-the-radar excellent player. The last couple of years, he’s had a slump to below-average efficiency.
In November 2018, he had a hip injury, and in Nov 2019 he had an ankle injury, among other ailments. There is a Joel Rush analysis showing this scoring dip correlated with his recent injuries:
His defense took a smaller but noticeable dip too. He went from an elite steals/foul-free defender to a very good one.
6'11" BIG, 24.2 YEARS OLD
This guy has been a dream target for some GSW fans for a long time. This athletic powerhouse has Indiana wondering whether to go with a Twin Towers approach with Domantas Sabonis, or whether to trade one of them, so this is a realistic target for Warriors dreams (ignoring the cap gymnastics required).
He is not as much of a rim-runner as I had assumed. His finishing is average and for a Big, he chucks a lot of 3s and jumpers.
On defense, as advertised, he has been a shot blocking machine, his steals rate is good and he doesn’t foul much. His rebounding is below-average though.
6'2" COMBO, 26.2 YEARS OLD
Freed from Brad Stevens’s college basketball schemes, Rozier got way more to eat in Charlotte this season, and transformed into a high-usage, relatively efficient scorer and an average assist man.
His rim finishing was very poor, his midrange jumper was below average, but his three point shooting was scorching.
With the extra offensive usage came a drop in his defense. In 18-19 he was an above-average blocker, stealer and defensive rebounder. Last year, he was a below average blocker and stealer and his defensive rebounding went down too (presumably because he was cheating out more to start the break).
Which of these four would be the best target for the Warriors’s trade exception gymnastics?
Vote in the comments here (try to be clear whom you’re voting for) or at Twitter. Votes here count 10 times more than Twitter votes.
In a close vote, Myles Turner edges out Aaron Gordon in a two-man race.
Myles Turner 48.4%
Aaron Gordon 40.8%
Gary Harris 6.7%
Terry Rozier 4.1%