Stephen Curry is, without a doubt, the greatest shooter in league history. That was evident well before Curry’s magnificent display in Atlanta, winning the Three-Point Contest in spectacular fashion while draining an additional eight threes (many from just over half-court) in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game. But as monumentally gifted as Steph is, the future Hall-of-Famer can’t do it all himself.
The embattled Warriors find themselves on the playoff fringe, a half-game back of the eighth-seeded Mavericks in the Western Conference. Curry’s supporting cast in Golden State includes the likes of Draymond Green, a rugged defender and one of the league’s top distributors (career-high 8.6 assists per game), former first overall pick Andrew Wiggins and rookie seven-footer James Wiseman. While useful, none can replicate the production of free-agent defector Kevin Durant or injured superstar Klay Thompson.
Looking for a spark to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Warriors are reportedly seeking upgrades ahead of the upcoming March 25th trade deadline with Rockets guard Victor Oladipo on their radar, per The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor. Given the Warriors’ tight finances (they boast the league’s highest payroll at $172.8 million), Oladipo would be a pure rental, a hired mercenary to play out Golden State’s final stretch before entering free agency this summer. Oladipo’s expiring deal doesn’t leave the Rockets with much leverage, which also works in the Warriors’ favor.
A two-time All-Star and former All-NBA selection, the well-traveled Oladipo has averaged a respectable 17.5 points per game for his career. He’s also a plus defender, having led the league in steals in 2018. Injuries have slowed Oladipo’s progress in recent years (he’s shot only 38.7 percent from the floor since arriving in January’s James Harden trade), though perhaps the 28-year-old would benefit from a change of scenery in Golden State, where he would presumably fill the void left by Thompson as Curry’s sidekick.
With Harden and Russell Westbrook both gone, the slumping Rockets, losers of 13 straight, are headed for a complete rebuild and may as well trade whatever assets they have left for future draft capital. That includes Oladipo, who many suspect will join the Heat in free agency.