Can’t wait to hear the responses on this one: Before the Indiana Pacers made a horrible deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George, they aimed high: They called the Warriors and asked for Klay Thompson. From Woj’s podcast:
Indiana offered you to Golden State for Klay Thompson. Golden State said no, talks didn’t go anywhere. Were you aware that conversation happened?
Paul George: I think that would have been the Chris Paul to LA situation. Where they denied that trade. Yeah, I was aware of it. I would have looked forward to it …
Of course he would have. I’d venture to say 99.9 percent of NBA players would currently love to be traded to the Warriors. You share the court with unselfish players who are all about winning and don’t really care about stats.
I’m actually not surprised the Warriors passed on the deal. I’m as bullish on Paul George as anyone, and had him ranked as the 11th best player in the NBA, while Thompson is just 22nd.
But fit matters. Thompson is not just a phenomenal 3-point shooter (over 40 percent from deep his first six years in the NBA), but he’s a plus defender. He’ll guard the dominant opposing guard; often, that’s a point guard. That lessens the burden on Stephen Curry, who has to run the offense.
Paul George is a very good defender. He was 1st team All-Defense in 2014. But at 6-foot-9, you might play him at the 4 in a small-ball attack, but most likely, he’s defending the best opposing wing. You don’t want Paul George chasing Damian Lillard or Russell Westbrook or James Harden. Those are guys for Klay Thompson.
And obviously contracts matter – the Warriors would have had to max out George in 11 months, while Thompson is only due $17.8 million next season, and then $18.9 million the following year.
So this is no slight to Paul George. But the Warriors have the best point guard in the NBA, and the best small forward in the NBA. They’ve got a Top 3 shooting guard in the NBA. They’re in the midst of having the best NBA dynasty in the modern era. They just don’t need a ton right now.