This was supposed to be the season that the Golden State Warriors fixed the bad vibes that plagued the team in their unsuccessful title defense attempt in 2022-23. Jordan Poole, the undeserved recipient of a knuckle sandwich from Draymond Green, and viewed by most as a key part of the team’s chemistry issues, was shipped out in favor of Chris Paul, a proven veteran known and respected by the team’s core players.
But now we have trouble, which usually is what follows disappointing seasons. According to a report from Shams Charania and Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga has “lost faith in coach Steve Kerr” and “no longer believes Kerr will allow him to reach his full potential.”
The report quotes a source saying that Thursday’s debilitating loss to the Denver Nuggets was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” and it’s not hard to see why. Kuminga, finally breaking through in the rotation and starting in Green’s absence, was one of the team’s best players on Thursday, but played just 19 minutes. Notably, he was glued to the bench for the entire fourth quarter while Golden State blew an 18-point lead.
Tensions have been rising with Kuminga for quite a while. He was unhappy with his lack of minutes last season, and many viewed him as one of the primary targets of a postseason speech by Steph Curry that called for players to stop worrying about their minutes and individual roles. After the playoffs ended, a report surfaced that Kuminga wanted to either be guaranteed a bigger role going forward, or traded.
And just last week — even while playing the most minutes of his career — Kuminga went on record, telling The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II that, “Sometimes, I come out the game not knowing what I did. And that messes with my head. It’s like, ‘What they want me to do?’ I can pass and I can do different s—.”
Minutes issues abound for Golden State. Even with Green and Gary Payton II sidelined, Kuminga was limited to 19 minutes on Thursday while Moses Moody didn’t play for the second straight game. One of the biggest issues is that the team is trying to develop Kuminga while also getting All-Star Andrew Wiggins back on track, but the two have been completely unplayable together. Those two have shared the court for 131 minutes this year, and during that time they’ve been outscored 355-289, for a staggering -21.5 net rating.
For games like Thursday — where both Wiggins and Kuminga had strong first halves — it can create quite a mess.
With Kuminga’s rising grievances becoming public, the Dubs are suddenly in an extremely precarious spot. Do they trade Kuminga? Do they trade Wiggins and give their promising young wing 34 minutes a night? Do they keep doing what they’ve been doing and try to handle things behind the scenes?