Warriors team owner Joe Lacob knows a thing or two about making a deal — from actually purchasing the Golden State franchise when he wasn’t expected to have the winning bid, to trading popular guard Monta Ellis, and also, of course, to bringing superstar Kevin Durant to the Bay Area.
But as Lacob basked in the early-season success of his Warriors during a conversation with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami, he labeled a more recent deal as one of his best — and he came close to crowning it No. 1 on his list.
It’s the Andrew Wiggins deal, which appears to have settled recently, in the wake of Wiggins’ incredible performance against this former team, the Timberwolves, on Wednesday.
For a refresher: the Warriors traded star guard D’Angelo Russell, G Jacob Evans III, and center Omari Spellman for Wiggins, a lightly protected first-round pick that became F Jonathan Kuminga, and a second-round pick (used to acquire the since departed Kelly Oubre Jr.).
Here’s a portion of Lacob’s comments to Kawakami, which also came in the wake of that big Wednesday win.
“I thought it was one of the greatest deals, certainly maybe the greatest deal we’ve ever done and one of the best I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Lacob said. “I thought it was a killer deal. I thought Bob (Myers) did an amazing job. I don’t even know how to put it strong enough. How you can convert a good player into another, let’s call him an equal player, whatever you want to decide (Wiggins for Russell). We think a better fit for us. And what could have been an even higher lottery pick. … We wound up with the seventh pick in the draft. … I think we were elated with that trade. I think it will set us up for the future tremendously well. I think Bob honestly right now looks like the executive of the year.”Tim Kawakami/The Athletic
I mentioned Lacob was riding high after a win, right? That’s certainly clear from this statement. (Lacob also pointed out that including Evans and Spellman in the deal saved the Warriors tens of millions of dollars in luxury tax.)
But many NBA observers questioned the Warriors’ move to acquire Wiggins, who is high-priced and was slated to be a role player on a Warriors team with superstars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and eventually Klay Thompson when he returns from injury late this year or early in the next.
Not only has Wiggins been a perfect fit in Golden State, but Kuminga’s talent and potential are obvious to even novice basketball watchers. Most of all, however, the Warriors are thriving, and the Timberwolves are floundering. Wiggins’ exploded against the Wolves on Wednesday to hammer that point home, in case we forgot.
The deal is an obvious winner for Lacob, and an important swap in the Warriors’ current mission to meld its veteran superstars with young talent. Kuminga is a potential superstar that can help in small but vital ways this season, and Wiggins is right in the middle, set to turn 27 years old in February.
Was the deal Lacob’s best, however? Probably not. Ellis’ departure set Curry free and brought C Andrew Bogut, setting the foundation for the Warriors’ first title run. But Lacob has every right to put the Wiggins deal up there with the best and praise general manager Bob Myers. If this season keeps going as it has for Golden State, accolades — both on and off the court — are sure to be showered upon the Warriors as they go for another NBA title.