Perhaps the most surprising move of the offseason so far was when the Golden State Warriors decided to trade for Chris Paul, who was just cast away from the Phoenix Suns to the Washington Wizards. By trading for the 38-year-old veteran guard, the Warriors sent Jordan Poole to the Wizards, a confusing move on the surface given his age, star potential and the fact that he just signed a $128 million deal with Golden State last summer.
Warriors team owner Joe Lacob called it a "multi-faceted decision" while speaking to the Mercury News, saying the team needed a change.
"We had to change something," Lacob said. "While it's a short-term move, Chris Paul is a fabulous Hall of Famer who will I think certainly help our second unit, help our first unit if he plays there, wherever he plays, he's a tremendous guy."
We'll have to see if Paul winds up excelling with the Warriors, but it's obvious that getting off Poole's contract helps Golden State from a financial standpoint. Paul is set to make $30.8 million this season, and next year's $30 million is non-guaranteed, which will make him an unrestricted free agent. Poole was set to enter Year 1 of a four-year, $128 million rookie extension he signed last summer, a contract that runs through the 2026-2027 season. With the league's new collective bargaining agreement placing harsher penalties on high-spending teams, maintaining financial flexibility is incredibly important going forward, and this trade ensures that for the Warriors.
CBS Sports HQ Newsletter
Your Ultimate Guide to Every Day in Sports
We bring sports news that matters to your inbox, to help you stay informed and get a winning edge.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
The trade also makes financial sense given Lacob's desire to make sure Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all retire with the Warriors. Thompson will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, and moving on from Poole's deal gives Golden State more money to play with in an offer to Thompson.
"Certainly, we'd like Steph, Draymond and Klay to retire as Warriors," Lacob said. "That is my goal, our goal, and I think it's a good likelihood that'll happen."
Green just signed a four-year, $100 million deal to remain with the Warriors, and Curry's deal takes him through the 2025-26 season. If Thompson re-signs to a long-term deal it will ensure Golden State's successful core will stay intact for at least the next few years.
While it remains to be seen if this trade makes a lot of basketball sense, from a business standpoint the reasoning checks out.