Things simply cannot stop unravelling for the struggling Golden State Warriors this season. In addition to their 127-130 loss on Thursday night against the reigning champion Denver Nuggets, signs point to forward Jonathan Kuminga being notably frustrated with his role in The Bay.
According to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kuminga has ‘lost faith’ in Warriors coach Steve Kerr, noting his lack of development and opportunity through his first three seasons in the league hindering his growth. With just over one month to go until the NBA trade deadline, it raises some serious questions about a change in scenery being the answer for the 21-year-old.
After sitting for the final 18 minutes of Thursday night’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga has lost faith in coach Steve Kerr, and the 2021 lottery pick no longer believes Kerr will allow him to reach his full potential, sources close to Kuminga tell The Athletic, adding another layer of turbulence to an already complex Warriors season.
In 33 games this season, Kuminga has averaged 12.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists on 50.6/28.0/68.8 splits. He’s been plugged in as a starter for the Warriors since Draymond Green’s lengthy suspension, but it seems that fit has been less than ideal. Golden State has lost four of their last five games, good for just 11th place in the Western Conference.
If the Warriors want to get this rocky season back on track, it may come from sending off their lottery pick from three summers ago via trade. Kuminga was drafted 7th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft from the G-League Ignite. While he’s shown flashes of immense potential, development doesn’t quite align with a team like Golden State, one who needs immediate production for their current championship aspirations.
The turbulence opens the door wide open for a team like the Utah Jazz to get involved. By housing a few veterans of their own who can contribute to a winning roster, along with a collection of future assets, it’s hard to find a team that could put together a better package for Golden State.
Unlike the Warriors, the Jazz would have a solidified development system and a lengthier timeline to elevate Kuminga’s game and give him the necessary opportunity. It’s a youthful roster with a young coach who could utilize a defensive and lengthy wing to bring energy against opposing offenses.
Utah currently sits 24th in the NBA for defensive rating, communicating this squad may need some reinforcements on that end at the deadline.
Players like Kelly Olynyk and Kris Dunn, who have recently been mentioned in rumors of their own, could be quality fits for the Warriors in a deal. Both are on expiring contracts that make it simpler for a heavily cap-constrained roster like Golden State to facilitate a move.
In return, the Jazz would take a flier on a young, cheap, high-potential player who could elevate this roster long-term. We know CEO Danny Ainge isn’t afraid of taking a big swing once in a while, and this could be another example of just that.
Expect trade talks surrounding the Warriors and Kuminga to heat up in the next couple of weeks amid the recent controversy. If so, the Jazz should be one of the first in line.