One of the most impactful and controversial trades of the offseason in the entire NBA was the deal that sent Jordan Poole to the Washington Wizards. In a decision that sent shockwaves around the league, the Golden State Warriors acquired Chris Paul from the Wizards, in exchange for Poole, Ryan Rollins, Patrick Baldwin Jr, a 2027 second-round pick, and a 2030 protected first-round pick.
Despite the unexpected nature of this transaction, the newly-minted general manager of the Golden State Warriors, Mike Dunleavy Jr. claimed it was “an easy move.” In a recent interview with the NBC Sports Bay Area’s “Dubs Talk’ podcast, Dunleavy Jr. stated:
"“Yeah I mean I think honestly in a lot of ways, it was an easy move because I felt like it would make our team better and it gave us a decent amount of flexibility moving forward. So to me, it wasn’t that tough.”"
The former 15-year NBA veteran who replaced Bob Myers as the Warriors GM this summer, also added that he “didn’t lose much sleep over that one.”
This may be seen as a shot at Jordan Poole, but it’s probably mostly about financial flexibility. Even though the decision to trade Poole may be understandable due to the team’s tax bill going forward, there is an easy argument to be made that Golden State may have moved on too quickly from Poole. Trading a 24-year-old dynamic scorer at the nadir of his trade value might come back to bite the Warriors. Having to add more assets to move on from a young player with upside is never a great idea.
And perhaps more than the decision to trade Poole away, bringing in Chris Paul, who doesn’t fit the Warriors’ playing style was more shocking. Paul is a ball-dominant player who plays the same position as Steph Curry. He doesn’t thrive as an off-ball player, who the Warriors’ system requires. His offensive strengths are relatively redundant with Draymond Green’s.
This is not to say that the Chris Paul experiment will not work in Golden State. The Warriors could easily win a championship with this core. However, this shouldn’t have been “an easy decision” that you “didn’t lose much sleep over”, by any means. There is a very real possibility that as soon as the 2023-24 season, Poole will be a better player than the 38-year-old Paul, which should make the Warriors regret moving on from him at the lowest point of his trade value.