Here’s the latest on the Warriors and the upcoming NBA draft…
Tyrese Haliburton impresses
Warriors top brass walked away “extremely intrigued” with NBA draft prospect Tyrese Haliburton after a recent workout, according to Haliburton’s trainer.
Long-time basketball trainer Joe Abunassar, who owns Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, has worked with Haliburton since July, helping him gain strength and hone skills to adapt to the NBA.
- Head coach Steve Kerr, GM Bob Myers and owner Joe Lacob “asked a lot of questions,” Abunassar said, “and walked away extremely intrigued.”
- These in-person workouts have helped Haliburton rise up draft boards in recent weeks. The Iowa State guard is expected to go anywhere between pick No. 4 and pick No. 7 in Wednesday’s NBA draft. In addition to Golden State, Haliburton has worked out with Minnesota, Chicago, Atlanta and Detroit.
In the last few months, Haliburton has increased his body weight from 175 pounds to 186 pounds, adding strength in his lower body and core muscle areas.
- Abunassar said Haliburton’s body reminds him of his former client Tayshaun Prince, who spent the prime of his 14-year career guarding top scorers like Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony.
Having worked with Prince and bona fide stars Kevin Garnett, Chauncey Billups and Kawhi Leonard, Abunassar is widely-respected for his ability to help players unlock the full potential of their bodies.
- According to Abunassar, because of his talent, work-ethic and personality, Haliburton has the potential to be a star. The Warriors are not only impressed with Haliburton’s shooting, passing and defensive versatility, but also his professionalism.
- “He’s prepared to be a star,” Abunassar said. “He can win games by scoring zero points, or he can win games by scoring every basket.”
Wiseman wants to be a Warriors (or a Hornet)
Former Memphis center James Wiseman has met in person only with the Warriors and Hornets, he said during a video conference call with reporters Monday.
- Golden State’s travel party of Kerr, Myers and Lacob were impressed with Wiseman’s size when they saw him work out in Miami several weeks ago.
- On potentially playing with the Warriors, Wiseman said: “Being in that type of tradition, that type of environment would be great for me. It would create an extra push of maturity, learning under Steph and Klay.”
- Though most scouts and draft experts compare the 7-footer to prime DeAndre Jordan, Wiseman believes he can be a more versatile defender and “guard 1 through 5.”
Wiseman hasn’t met with the Timberwolves, who hold the No. 1 pick, but said, “Whatever team that drafts me, I’m ready to go in there and play.”
- Controlling which teams are granted in-person workouts is a common practice prospects use to manipulate where they are drafted.
- It’s unclear whether Wiseman’s representation dismissed workouts with other teams, but most believe either Golden State or Charlotte is the 19-year-old’s preferred destination. Over the last few weeks other teams have backed off.
- “It was basically just Golden State and Charlotte that stayed in contact with me the whole time,” he said.
What happens at the top?
Several draft experts are publishing their final mocks of the year, and most have settled on what they think the Timberwolves will do with the No. 1 pick.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo have reported that most teams around the NBA are operating as if Minnesota will select Georgia’s Anthony Edwards if they don’t trade the pick.
Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie writes that “the Wolves have not made a decision yet on what they’re going to do” and “expect the real offers to start coming within about 48 hours of the draft.”
If Edwards is off the board by the time the Warriors are drafting at No. 2, they could go with either LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman. Most mock drafts have penciled Wiseman in as the pick, but the Warriors remain open to trading the pick or, if they stay put, taking Wiseman or going with a different player.
Trade season begins
Monday’s lift of the trade moratorium brought instant excitement, with Chris Paul being sent to the Suns in a multi-player deal and rumors of the Rockets impending rebuild buzzing.
- According to reports, the Thunder will receive Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre plus other players and draft compensation in the deal.
- As I wrote last week, this could lead to a potential deal for the Warriors, in which they take unwanted salary from Oklahoma City for minimal compensation.
- If the Thunder want to move on from Oubre’s expiring contract or the 30-year-old Rubio, they could send one to Golden State, who would absorb their salary into the trade exception.
There’s another option in Oklahoma City: Over the weekend, the Lakers agreed to trade Danny Green and the No. 28 pick to the Thunder for Dennis Schroder.
- Green, a “3-and-D” wing, is a natural fit for the Warriors. At 6-foot-6, the 33-year-old is still one of the better perimeter defenders in the league and a career 40% 3-point shooter.
- Before, it was unlikely the Lakers would help a rival by trading Green to Golden State. Now, the Thunder don’t have anything to lose by sending Green — whose deal fits within the trade exception — to the Warriors for a second-round pick or two.