NBA trade deadline: Bucks, Mavs both in on Andrew Wiggins

If you haven’t been to Warriors games in a minute, let us say it’s quite easy to forget the pregame spectacle that still comes with Stephen Curry’s joyful warmup. His schoolyard routine with longtime Golden State assistant Bruce Fraser draws as many children wielding homemade posters as it does grown men pleading for an autograph from the game’s greatest shooter. It’s in those precious minutes when Curry’s bouncing into the lane and flipping layups from ungodly angles that would make even Kyrie Irving snicker that you can really see how the 35-year-old is still capable of going off for 60 points in Atlanta on Saturday. And it’s also the fact Golden State fell during overtime in that battle, or that Klay Thompson faded again from Steve Kerr’s closing lineup Monday in Brooklyn that reveals just how far above the Warriors’ supporting cast Curry’s talents remain.

In short: It won’t matter if Curry can still spearhead a contender if there isn’t a contending roster behind him. Golden State officials are keenly aware what heights their All-Star guard can still carry the Warriors, and that’s why the front office entered the NBA’s burgeoning trade market in December with bigger ideas. Golden State was surely one of the teams involved in talks with Toronto for Pascal Siakam, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Yet questions about fit and Siakam’s looming contract in free agency were two of several factors that ultimately dissuaded any Golden State deal, sources said.

As other buyers are also keenly aware, there haven’t been many players of similar magnitude to Siakam who’ve even become available in this trade window. The best talent known to be on the board, Hawks All-Star guard Dejounte Murray, doesn’t make sense for the Warriors either, sources said — especially considering how strongly Chris Paul upheld Golden State during Curry’s bench minutes before Paul was sidelined by a fracture in his left hand. The veteran floor general was hoisting pregame jumpers at Barclays Center on Monday and looked to be quickly trending toward a return to action. Paul also bills as unlikely to be traded, sources said.

Andrew Wiggins could be the ultimate swing piece of the Warriors’ current build. He represented the second fiddle to Curry on a title team not even 20 months ago and did seem to turn around a slow shooting start to this 2023-24 campaign before succumbing to a foot injury in Atlanta. Golden State had found some early success with a frontcourt lineup featuring Wiggins and third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga flanking Draymond Green. Kuminga’s emergence, scoring 20 points on a near-nightly basis, is the most encouraging sign for internal improvement for Golden State in the West. But Wiggins’ optionality as a trade candidate is the most interesting element of the Warriors’ pre-deadline decision-making. Kuminga — as Yahoo Sports has previously reported — is not available for trade.

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) plays in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) plays in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has been a popular name on the trade market. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

It seems more likely Golden State will find a smaller, less seismic adjustment to their 2022 championship core. If Thompson’s drifting away from critical minutes, veteran center Kevon Looney has seen a dramatic decline in his involvement for the Warriors. Looney’s $7.5 million salary could be exchanged for various options, whether Golden State ultimately determines it requires shooting, more defensive wing depth or anything else on the trade market’s current menu. Looney’s deal is only guaranteed for $3 million in 2024-25.

But Wiggins is the Warrior who’s generated the most significant trade chatter around the league. He remains a player in consideration for the Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Although in order for Milwaukee to reach Wiggins’ $24.3 million salary, the Bucks would need to include forward Bobby Portis in any outgoing package, and Milwaukee, sources said, is going to think long and hard before sacrificing Portis in any deal at this deadline. Still, it should be noted Portis was one of Kerr’s favorites during this summer’s FIBA World Cup run with Team USA.

The Bucks’ valuation of Portis, not just for his shooting ability and veteran know-how but also his championship history with the franchise, is also the reason it would take far more than Grant Williams, sources said, for Milwaukee to send Portis to Dallas. The Mavericks are known to be including either Williams or Tim Hardaway Jr. as the larger-salary player with which Dallas is exploring several frontcourt options with shooting ability, plus some defensive chops, sources said. And the Mavs are willing to spend their 2027 first-round pick for the right option.

It seems unlikely, at this juncture, that Dallas — or Sacramento, for that matter — will be able to find a deal that satisfies Washington’s asking price of multiple first-round picks for Kyle Kuzma. Dallas could search for avenues to manufacture another first-round selection from another team, but the Wizards appear quite comfortable moving forward with Kuzma on their roster, signed to three more seasons after this. Washington has made it known across the NBA landscape, sources said, it is prioritizing draft capital and is wishful to facilitate three-team deals if such concepts would bring more future picks to the nation’s capital.

Other Dallas targets

Another premium option for the Mavericks, Jerami Grant, also still appears off the trade block. Portland continues to indicate the Blazers are more interested in keeping Grant and guard Malcolm Brodgon, sources said, than moving either veteran for a package that doesn’t blow Portland away. Where else can Dallas look? PJ Washington remains a possibility. Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart is another known target for the Mavericks, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Dallas was one of the teams to show interest in Orlando’s Wendell Carter as well, sources said, although the Magic aren’t looking to move him either.

Bucks canvassing league

There is no shortage of names that have been linked to Milwaukee’s quest to find defensive upgrades, particularly on the perimeter. As SportsNet New York reported earlier Tuesday, Dorian Finney-Smith is another player on the Bucks’ radar, sources confirmed, as his $13.3 million salary would not require parting with Portis. But Milwaukee doesn’t have the first-round draft capital that Brooklyn, sources said, is seeking for its swingman. The Bucks have been including Marjon Beauchamp in conversations, sources said, along with the No. 35 pick Milwaukee will inherit from Portland in this June’s draft.

The Bucks, along with the Sixers, are among several teams that have contacted the likes of New Orleans and Oklahoma City, sources said, attempting to trade future first-round pick swaps or packages of second-round picks to acquire extra first-round selections. Phoenix, you may recall, dealt two future first-round swaps (2024 and 2030) to Memphis for three seconds before this season began. Now it seems like several teams are trying to deal those same assets for an even more meaningful return.

Even in the wake of Joel Embiid’s knee surgery, the Sixers are hoping to move a future swap to acquire more imminent first-round picks, sources said, than the first-round capital that Philadelphia currently has available. The Sixers’ soonest pick they can trade won’t come until 2026. So while Philadelphia’s three picks it yielded in return for James Harden would suggest the Sixers have plenty of ammunition to go out and acquire a meaningful player, Philadelphia seems to be prioritizing ways to buy now, while maintaining future flexibility.

Philadelphia is exploring conversations with a variety of teams, but one known target for the Sixers is Pacers guard Buddy Hield, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Hield’s $18.5 million dollar salary would be a match for several of the Sixers’ expiring contracts, and his expiring deal wouldn’t add future financial burden onto Philadelphia’s clean cap sheet for this offseason, as the Sixers have left rival teams with the impression they are still wary of taking back longterm salary at this juncture.

Another target for the Sixers is Pistons guard Bojan Bogdanović, sources said, who is on the books for $20 million this season, but has just $2 million guaranteed for 2024-25. Detroit has long shown an interest in a reunion with Tobias Harris, league sources told Yahoo Sports, but in any deal where the Sixers bring back Bogdanović, it would seem Philadelphia doesn’t want to part with Harris.

Alas, Detroit officials haven’t indicated to rival teams they’ll even be willing to move Bogdanović. Veteran shooting bigs Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari do appear to be likely trade candidates for the Pistons.

Celtics trying to bolster bench

Elsewhere atop the Eastern Conference, Boston has been weighing various options who could deepen the Celtics’ bench, according to league sources. Boston will likely be limited to adding pieces through its $6.25 million traded-player exception with which the Celtics could bring on a veteran target such as Otto Porter Jr., sources said. Another name on Boston’s radar: Nets guard Lonnie Walker, who’s generated a wealth of interest from playoff teams while playing well on a minimum contract, sources said.