Klay Thompson Is Not Getting Traded, But How Fun Would That Be?
Klay Thompson Is Not Getting Traded, But How Fun Would That Be
by Tyler Bowen (twocentsports.com)
In just one offseason, albeit a hectic one, Klay Thompson went from being one of the best shooters and two-way guards in the entire NBA to a guy who’s arguably the fourth-most important player on his team. For now, just 10 games in to his season, we’re going to chalk it up to some offseason rust; there’s no reason to overreact to 10 games with a team that’s still looking to establish some chemistry. However, because we have the internet, there are some Klay Thompson trade rumors being lobbed around. I can’t picture Golden State pounding the big red panic button just yet, but why not play around with the idea?
Side note: First and foremost, the issue is whether any team would even be willing to trade with the Super Team/Super Villain Warriors. I can’t imagine teams like the Clippers would want to do business with Golden State, or vice versa for that matter, but let’s pretend they would.
On the surface, Boston is obviously both interested and the best candidate for all involved parties. Boston is currently a contender in the Eastern Conference, but likely don’t have quite the talent and depth to knock out the juggernaut Cavaliers. Boston makes the most sense on paper because they have the most pieces to move around; they have several solid role players (Avery Bradley, Amir Johnson, etc.) and a few extra picks still leftover from the awful trade the Nets made a few seasons ago. It’s hard to calculate exactly what it would take for a team to get Klay, but I think Bradley, Johnson, and a 2018 first-round pick would do the job, and both teams really benefit.
Bradley is a terrific replacement for Klay Thompson. He’s a good shooter and an incredible defender, both on and off the ball. He doesn’t need to take 18 shots a game like Klay, and the Warriors don’t really need offense too badly right now. Amir Johnson gives them a nice body in the paint, which is obviously an area of need for Golden State right now. Then, of course, a first-round pick is either another young big man or good trade bait.
However, Golden State might be smart to open negotiations to different teams, possibly even working out a three-team deal. ESPN has a Trade Machine, allowing people to create their own trades and test whether they’ll actually work. Using this, I added Philadelphia in the mix; the 76ers would send Jahlil Okafor to Golden State along with Boston’s Avery Bradley. Boston would still get Thompson, and Philadelphia would get Amir Johnson and a pick from Boston. This gives Boston another star, Golden State some much needed depth, and it helps the 76ers fix their big-man logjam. Yes, it’s a little far-fetched, but imagine Okafor with that Warriors team.
Want to get crazier? Why not. Klay Thompson goes to Sacramento for DeMarcus Cousins, who’s essentially one foot out the door anyway. I don’t even need to explain why this trade works for both teams, but it fixes the Warriors’ front court problems and the Kings get a player they can control longer than Cousins. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine the Kings doing this 1-for-1, so there’s two options. Option 1: Golden State has to chip in a 2018 or 2019 first-round pick (or more maybe). Option 2: bring in a third team.
My first thought for that third team was the Clippers; the Clippers need a small forward and Sacramento also wants to move Rudy Gay. So the Clippers get Gay and the Kings would also acquire something from Los Angeles; it could be J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce and a late pick. It could be Austin Rivers and a very distant first-round pick; there are multiple options for this.
Another third team here could be the Miami Heat. There were rumors earlier in the season that Miami and Sacramento were working on a deal that would send Goran Dragic out west for Darren Collison and Rudy Gay. It seems like a terrible trade for the Kings so I don’t know how accurate those rumors were or what other pieces were involved, but that could still be on the table.
Want to get really crazy? Like borderline psychotic? How about sending Klay Thompson to Mardi Gras Country for Anthony Davis? Yeah, it’ll never happen, but the Warriors would win every game from here on out this season, then go 82-0 next year. I would assume it takes a combination of Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney (young with decent potential) and probably a first-round pick or two. Highly unlikely and the price tag is sky-high, but the world would probably explode.
Finally, another off-the-wall destination for Thompson could be Denver. The Nuggets are overflowing with young talent, especially in the front court. They may not be big names, but Kenneth Faried and Jusuf Nurkic would be better for Golden State than Klay. It really improves their front court and provides depth. They could even find a way to steal Will Barton, who’s more than capable of producing in place of Thompson.
Again, I really can’t see Golden State pulling the trigger because it would mean the Warriors would have to find chemistry and rhythm yet again. For right now, they’re fine; it’s early in the seasonand the team hasn’t had time to adjust. There’s an obvious lack of front court depth, but they could find cheaper options near the trade deadline, such as Tyson Chandler (Phoenix), Trevor Booker (Brooklyn) or others. The Warriors are still an elite team that’s going to be particularly dangerous come playoff time whether they trade Klay or not.