Former first-overall pick Andrew Wiggins has been coming off the bench for the first time in his career since December 14. Due to an uneven start to the Golden State Warriors season, Head Coach Steve Kerr has been tinkering with the lineup to find the most cohesive unit.
While Wiggins' demotion from the starting five is worrisome, what's even more troubling is recent rumors of a potential departure from the Bay Area (subscription required).
Warriors may explore trading star forward, can the Mavericks land him?
It's been reported that the Warriors are no longer reluctant to deal the All-Star forward. Golden State acquired in Wiggins from the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2019. Since the acquisition, Wiggins has played an integral role on the team.
After the trade, Wiggins became a far more efficient player and a menace on the defensive end. Despite a slight drop in usage, the Warriors wing made his first All-Star team in 2022, later winning his first NBA Championship that same year.
His 2022 Playoff run was something to behold. He was tasked with defending the opposing team's best wing, night in and night out, while producing 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
After the conclusion of the 2022 season, Wiggins signed a team friendly contract, $109 million across four years with a player option in the last season. In today's NBA, $25 million for a player of Wiggins caliber isn't an overpay.
Although Wiggins hasn't been playing like a $25 million man this season, he's still a great third-scoring option with lockdown defensive potential. With 21-year-old forward Jonathan Kuminga performing admirably in Wiggins spot, he's looked increasingly expendable over the past month.
This is where the Dallas Mavericks come in. After defeating Wiggins and Warriors last night, it's clear Dallas is on the verge of something special.
Luka Doncic has been playing some of the best basketball of his career, while the Mavericks role players are producing at extremely high levels. However, acquiring a do-it-all forward might just put Dallas over the top. And Wiggins could be that guy.
Head Coach Jason Kidd has recently been toying with the Mavericks' lineup as well. Dallas has opted for a smaller starting five, with Dante Exum in for Grant Williams. If the Mavericks were to acquire Wiggins, he could play alongside Derrick Jones Jr. at the three, or suit up at four alongside Exum in the starting group.
Although he's off to a slow start to begin the season, Wiggins remains a valuable asset. Nevertheless, Golden State is $90 million over the salary cap, thus cost-cutting measures may soon be taken.
In the offseason, the Warriors traded Jordan Poole for a 38-year-old Chris Paul. While the trade appeared lopsided, Golden State made the deal with financials in mind. Poole is owed $128 million over the next four years, while Paul is only guaranteed $30 million for this season.
Wiggins could very well be the next cost-cutting move. The Warriors are an older squad, with a losing record. At 11th place in the Western Conference, Golden State is on the outside looking in. Shipping out Wiggins for youth is assuredly something the Warriors would consider.
Although the Mavericks don't have the most appealing assets, players like Jaden Hardy or Josh Green could tempt the Warriors to bite. And to match the Warriors forward's salary, Dallas has Maxi Kleber and Richaun Holmes available for trade.
All in all, Dallas has proven to be a potential contender this season, even with star guard Kyrie Irving missing a chunk of games. However, a trade to bolster the rotation a step further could potentially put the Mavericks in the top tier of contenders.