Klay Thompson is already one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, up in the elite level, just a notch below James Harden and in the discussion with DeMar DeRozan and Monta Ellis for the No. 2 spot. Only 24, in his 4th year in the NBA, Thompson shot 41/44/79, and scored a career-high 18.4 ppg. Given he’s still on his rookie contract, and still only scratching the surface as a player, it’s obvious why everyone in the NBA would be trying to trade for him if the Warriors made him available.
It seems Golden State is doing just that, and attempting to land Kevin Love in return.
Sources: Twolves & Warriors discussing Possible trade: KLove, KMartin, JJBarea, 13th pick for Klay Thompson and David Lee
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 19, 2014
No writers have refuted this yet, but if this deal continues as listed above, that’s a massive heist for the Warriors. Yes, the Timberwolves are getting an 18-9 power forward in Lee, and an 18-point scorer in Thompson. Neither will have a significant impact on Minnesota’s terrible defense (tied for 25th in PPG; 29th in FG percent allowed), and it’s the West, so at best they’ll be fighting for one of the final playoff spots. Lee is locked in for two more years (at $15 million next season and $15.4 the following year) and Thompson is a steal at $4.4 mil next season before his $6.1 mil the following year. Minnesota has nice pieces in Rubio, Pekovic and Corey Brewer (coming off his best season as a pro). One would assume they’ll offer a max deal to Thompson and build around him in the future. (Worst case scenario: the Knicks or Lakers offer Thompson a max deal when he’s eligible and Thompson walks.)
But here’s why the Warriors walk away winners – not only do they get the better power forward in the deal (Love) but they also get a valuable scoring reserve in Martin, a solid backup point guard in Barea (adios, Steve Blake), and even better, they get a lottery pick. It’s puzzling as to why Minnesota would include the 13th pick in the draft. The Warriors don’t have a pick in the 1st round.
So you’re talking about a 51-win team with a Top 5 point guard, adding a Top 3 power forward and a lottery pick? I hate the idea of breaking up the Splash Brothers – the best young backcourt in the NBA – but you can’t pass on adding Kevin Love to a nucleus of Bogut, Iguodala, Barnes, Draymond Green and Curry. One could make a case that 1-9, the Warriors have the best collection of talent in the NBA. Barea was a valuable role player when the Mavericks won the title. Bogut, if he can stay healthy, is one of the NBA’s best defensive centers. Green and Barnes are two emerging talents who provide pop off the bench, though you wonder if Barnes slides into the starting lineup at shooting guard (even though he has played much more SF).
With the 13th pick, the Warriors likely would have a bevy of options, from taking a project Euro (Jusuf Nurkic), to a raw college player (Zach LaVine) to an experienced college player ready to contribute off the bench (McDermott, Payne, Stauskas).
If this is the deal, the Warriors have to make the move.