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NBA Trade Rumors: Nikola Vucevic would make the Golden State Warriors unstoppable again

Vucevic could replace Durant as the fourth star in the GSW team
Vucevic could replace Durant as the fourth star in the GSW team
Rupam Nag
ANALYST
Modified 14 Sep 2020, 04:00 IST
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With the off-season fast approaching, the Golden State Warriors have been the center of many NBA trade rumors. They nearly completed a historical 3-peat when they made it all the way to the NBA finals for the 5th straight year last season, only to lose in 6 games to the Toronto Raptors.

Their loss was more down to the injury of Kevin Durant than their own shortcomings on the court, and it is a popular belief that the Golden State Warriors would have won the title again if not for the same.

Regardless, amidst a host of NBA trade rumors linking him to several different franchises, Kevin Durant finally decided to join the Brooklyn Nets last off-season, which meant that the Golden State Warriors had to mount a championship challenge again without the 31-year-old.

Injuries to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson this season meant that the Warriors had to endure a campaign in which they finished rock-bottom of the NBA.

Ironically, this 'poor' season has worked out rather well for the Golden State Warriors as they came away with a valuable second overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, and also unearthed a gem in young Eric Paschall.

So how should they approach the coming off-season?


Also Read: NBA Trade Rumors: Houston Rockets reportedly interested in hiring Jeff Van Gundy to replace Mike D'Antoni


NBA Trade Rumors: Golden State Warriors could solve their big man issues with Nikola Vucevic

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Russell
Russell's stay with the Warriors was short, yet sweet

The Golden State Warriors procured the services of young guard D'Angelo Russell over the summer of 2019, and while the former Brooklyn Nets and LA Lakers man had a good stint at The Bay, the Minnesota Timberwolves managed to sign him in exchange for Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins was the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and won the Rookie of the Year award. Naturally, he was touted to become a superstar. While the Canadian small forward is still a very decent scorer, he hasn't displayed world-class qualities.

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Wiggins is a career 19.7 points per game scorer on 44.1% efficiency from the field, and 33.2% from three point range. Those numbers are pretty impressive and deserving of appreciation.

But the numbers are hardly stunning given kind of promise Wiggins showed early in his career. Moreover, the 25-year-old is on a ridiculously large 5-year/$148 million contract.

To add to the list of concerns, Andrew Wiggins' fit in this Golden State Warriors team where he won't have the ball in his hands all the time is questionable to say the least.

It makes complete sense for the Warriors to look to trade him. While it won't be easy to convince a team to take on Wiggins' salary, there is the possibility that the Orlando Magic might be interested.


Nikola Vucevic career statistics

Vucevic had a great series against the Milwaukee Bucks
Vucevic had a great series against the Milwaukee Bucks

Career points per game - 16.1

Career assists per game - 2.6

Career rebounds per game - 10.2

Career field goal % - 49.9%

Career 3pt % - 33.5%

If this is the case, the player the Golden State Warriors will be asking for is former All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic. The Montenegrin is one of the most underrated centers in the league and is very well-rounded. He can post up, shoot threes, defend the paint, and also guard the perimeter to a competent level.

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Against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference first round this season, Vucevic scored over 30 points in 3 of the 5 games - testimony to the fact that he doesn't shy away from big occasions.

Vucevic would give the Golden State Warriors what they have never really had in recent years - an All-Star level big man who can do a bit of everything. The salaries of both Wiggins and Vucevic is similar too, as the Orlando Magic star will be earning $72 million over the next three seasons.


NBA Trade Rumors: What would a potential trade between the Golden State Warriors and the Orlando Magic look like?

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves
Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves
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To get this deal done, the Golden State Warriors will need to include picks to make it worthwhile for the Orlando Magic, who would themselves need to involve another player like Al-Farouq Aminu to balance the salaries.

Why the Magic could be interested in this trade is because they have already gone as far as they could have with Nikola Vucevic. The 30-year-old isn't getting any younger, while Wiggins still has his best years ahead of him, making this a viable NBA trade rumor.

With the Magic, Wiggins could finally reach the level everyone expected him to when he entered the league and won the Rookie of the Year award.

As for the Golden State Warriors, they can acquire a star big man who can assist Stephen Curry and co. immediately, and turn them into legitimate NBA championship contenders.


Also Read: NBA Trade Rumors: New York Knicks to go all in for Chris Paul, Pelicans could give tough competition


Published 14 Sep 2020, 04:00 IST
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