Though they are currently buried deep in luxury tax hell, the Golden State Warriors still have plenty of ways to improve their roster in the 2020 NBA offseason. Aside from using their future first-rounders to acquire their fourth superstar, the Warriors could also utilize the $17.2 million trade exception they created from sending Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies last summer to add a quality player that complements their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green. One of the potential targets for the Warriors this fall is veteran forward Rudy Gay of the San Antonio Spurs.
The idea of bringing Gay to Golden State was proposed by John Hollinger of The Athletic. Using the $17.2 million trade exception for salary-matching purposes, he suggested that the Warriors could get Gay by sending a package that includes Kevon Looney and a second-round pick to the Spurs.
“Trading, say, Kevon Looney and a future second (round pick) for Gay would make the tax hit on the Warriors’ side less gargantuan and add a future pick for the next-gen Spurs,” Hollinger wrote, as quoted by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area.
Trading for Gay makes a lot of sense for the Warriors if they are planning to use Green as their starting center in the 2020-21 season. Gay could start at the power forward position, giving Golden State a veteran big man who is capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc. This season, the 33-year-old forward is averaging 10.0 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 44.2 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from three-point range, per ESPN.
Aside from what he could contribute on both ends of the floor, the Warriors could also receive other benefits from trading for the veteran forward. As Hollinger noted, having his expiring contract will expand the team’s option.
“Gay’s expiring contract gives Golden State an enduring form of trade currency that doesn’t expire until the trade deadline and can take back a contract worth up to $20 million. Thus, acquiring Gay doesn’t narrow the Warriors’ options, it actually expands them — they can either ride out the season with Gay, or flip his expiring deal any time prior to the trade deadline.”
Gay may not have given any strong indications that he wants out of San Antonio, but at this point in his NBA career, he would likely prefer to play for a team that has a legitimate chance of contending for the championship title. In Golden State, he would not only have the opportunity to win his first championship ring, but the team could also help him increase his value in preparation for his impending free agency in the summer of 2021.