Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Steph Curry

Getty Head Coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors speaks with Stephen Curry #30 against the Denver Nuggets.

The Golden State Warriors could juggle their roster enough this offseason to create an opportunity to trade for a nine-time All-Star who could help elevate them back to the top of the Western Conference.

NBA contract rules cleared Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers to negotiate an extension on top of his four-year, $176 million contract months ago, but the two sides have been unable to get traction on a new deal. George has a player option on the 2024-25 season, the final year of his current agreement, and can opt out and become a free agent on June 29.

The longer the two sides go without a deal, the more likely it is that George tests the open market and leaves L.A. for nothing in return, which makes the him a likely trade candidate under the right circumstances. Bill Simmons of The Ringer said on the June 24 edition of the “The Bill Simmons Podcast” that Golden State is the No. 1 team he’s watching in a potential move for George this summer.

The team that has been floating around — and I don’t know how real it is, but I think there’s and equal sense of desperation on their side — is Golden State.

So on June 28, they either have to guarantee Chris Paul’s contract for next season, which is $30 million, or they have to buy it out for $5 million. So it’s still a trade asset.

The Clippers … are a second-apron team, and it gets really hard to make trades with second-apron teams. The Warriors would also be a second-apron team if they kept Klay Thompson. But if they get rid of Klay Thompson, all of the sudden, they’re not. Which means that there are two possible Clipper trades that they could do for Paul George. One is they could combine Chris Paul, that contract Clippers would have to guarantee it next year, with [Jonathan] Kuminga [and] with Gary Payton II for Paul George.

Warriors Must Consider Final Years of Stephen Curry’s Career in Potential Trade Talks

NBA playoff predictions scenarios pictureNBA playoff predictions scenarios picture

GettyFormer Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George goes up against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during an NBA game.

Simmons and his Monday podcast partner Ryen Russillo, also of The Ringer, made the case that the Warriors owe it to star Stephen Curry to make a trade this summer that brings a player like George into the fold.

“If you’re Golden State, you have this once-in-a-generation ticket with Curry. Are you really gonna waste that?” Simmons said. “Like, are you just gonna say, “Eh, we had a good run. We won in 2022. Now let’s have the mid-2010’s Kobe [Bryant] retirement tour for the rest of the decade, basically.’ I don’t think they want that, I don’t think he wants that — so I’m watching them the most with trade week here.”

George boasts career averages of 20.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game and, when healthy, has been among the best two-wings in the NBA over the course of his 14-year career. George will play next season at 34 years old.

Warriors ‘Owe It’ to Stephen Curry to Make Trade for Player Like Paul George

Steph Curry, Golden State WarriorsSteph Curry, Golden State Warriors

GettySteph Curry of the Golden State Warriors (right) drives the to the hoop against Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers (left) during an NBA game.

Russillo countered by saying that Curry deserves a major move, even if the player Golden State acquires isn’t a precise fit with how the Warriors play.

They probably owe it to Steph more than any franchise owes a single player in the NBA of like, when you’re still really good and there’s a two-year window. We can talk about Jimmy Butler, we can talk about Paul George, there’s some lesser people like [Zach] LaVine or [Kyle] Kuzma or whatever. … If you’re the Warriors, how do we raise just our level of talent?

It doesn’t guarantee us anything. Paul George may not even fit our movement and all the stuff that we’re doing. But based on the options, and what we’d have to invest in the player on top of everything else … at this point I think you’re so desperate … it probably starts to make a little bit more sense.

Now you’re not looking at yourself as a perfect engine … you’re looking for anybody to just be way better than what your second or third options have been.

Curry remains under contract with the Warriors for the next two seasons.

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