Mike Dunleavy, Warriors willing to trade youngster for right player – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

SAN FRANCISCO – Although the Warriors have long resisted the idea of ​​making Jonathan Kuminga available for trade, that position lost some steam Thursday afternoon.

Kuminga and members of Golden State’s youth squad — Trayce Jackson-Davis, Moses Moody and Brandin Podzemski — may not be available on the market — but general manager Mike Dunleavy has made it clear that no one is untouchable.

In order to move any or all of them towards the correct return.

“This has to be something that we feel will unequivocally change the trajectory of our franchise,” Dunleavy said.

Like, for example, adding a nine-time NBA star. Or someone voted six times to the All-NBA team. Or maybe a four-time All-Defensive team member.

Paul George has all of those qualities in one person. According to league sources, the Warriors are monitoring George’s situation with the Los Angeles Clippers. He could decline his $48.8 million player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent.

The Clippers, according to president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, are preparing for that possibility.

“We have had ongoing conversations with his agent, Paul and Aaron Mintz,” Frank told reporters Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles. “We love Paul. We desperately want to keep Paul.

“But we also understand and respect the fact that this is a business. Players have a limited amount of time to not only make the most money but also be able to pursue what they want.”

George, who turned 34 last month, would be the hottest free agent on the market. LeBron James is not leaving the Los Angeles Lakers — not with his son, Bronny, coming to the team. Tyrese Maxey of Philadelphia is a restricted free agent. James Harden is simply less attractive than George.

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“We hope Paul decides to be here,” Frank said. “He’s been great. He’s been an All-Star three of the five years. He’s one of the best two-way players in the league. He’s a great guy, he’s got a great family. We hope he’s here.”

“But we also respect the fact that if he chooses to withdraw, that’s his choice. He’s earned it. And we’ll see how it goes.”

That’s what’s going to happen with the Warriors. After finishing sixth in the Western Conference in 2023, they dropped to tenth last season. Now the team is looking to make a big splash.

That means adding an established star with gifts to complement and support veteran leaders Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, both in their mid-30s.

George, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound wing, is one of the few available players who fits the profile.

The Warriors don’t have the cap space to pursue George as a free agent, so their only way to acquire him would be through a sign-and-trade deal. That can’t happen until the new year begins on July 1.

There are other obstacles to such a deal, all of which can be overcome if all parties are willing.

It’s reasonable to believe that the Warriors would be willing to sacrifice some of their future in order to put themselves in a position to compete for a championship.

Losing any of the four young men would be painful. But Kuminga will be the hardest to part with, especially after he improved significantly last season.

“We love these guys,” Dunleavy said. “We think they’re going to be really good, so it’s got to be something that makes us a lot better than that.”

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Paul George has enough skill to instantly make the Warriors much better than “good.” Of all the players who could be available, he may be the only player that can be said about.

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