The Golden State Warriors want Kevin Love. Heck, what team wouldn’t want Love? Maybe the San Antonio Spurs, but any other team would take him.
The Warriors usually get their man, at least that’s what they say. It looked for a while like the Warriors were going to snatch up Love in a trade that would certainly catapult them much higher in the Western Conference. However, things change. What happened? The Klay Thompson dilemma.
Thompson is a top three player at his position and the argument could be made that he’s the best two way shooting guard in the league, now that Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade are shells of themselves. Also, James Harden is one of the worst defenders in the league. The fact that Thompson is a two way player with All-Star potential makes him an extremely valuable player; both for the Warriors and any other team in the league, if they were to get him.
Back to the point- the Warriors seemed to be a dark horse in the Love pursuit. They didn’t have a first round draft choice this year, and were unwilling to part with Thompson. At least that’s what we heard up until a couple of days ago.
It didn’t come as a surprise that the Warriors included Thompson in the deal as they know the only way to get Love is to give up Thompson. It was reported that they were responding to the trade offer from the Timberwolves involving Love, Kevin Martin and the 13th overall pick. Also, some reports had J.J Barea included in the trade as well. Obviously, until an official deal gets agreed upon, it’s difficult to know what’s true and what’s not. One thing is for sure, if the Warriors would have pulled off the deal proposed it certainly would have helped them take the next step. How? Keep reading.
First, that deal would give the Warriors a proven scorer in Love, who’s a top 10 player in the NBA and would pair with Stephen Curry to make up possibly the best 1-2 punch in the NBA, rivaling those two in Oklahoma City. The Warriors would also get a proven sixth man scorer with Martin. Martin isn’t even close to as valuable as Thompson because of his poor defense, but he’s just as good of a scorer and would be a perfect scorer to have coming off the bench, which is something the Warriors lacked last year. If Barea and a draft pick were included that would make the Warriors an incredibly strong team. The lineup would be something in the combination of Curry, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes or Draymond Green, Love and Andrew Bogut. That’s a pretty solid starting five.
Then, obviously as is the case with most trade rumors, the trade came to a screeching halt because the Warriors organization was split on whether or not to trade Thompson, surprise! Reportedly, Warriors consultant Jerry West, who was the biggest Thompson fan back when the Warriors drafted him, and Steve Kerr didn’t want to trade Thompson. Warriors owner Joe Lacob was willing to trade for Love. It’s unknown what General Manager Bob Meyers felt about the situation, but it’s easy to assume that he would do whatever the ownership wanted him too.
The Warriors don’t want to trade Thompson, however if they want Love they will have to. They need to decide who’s more valuable, Love or Thompson? If they feel Love is more valuable, go and get Love. If Thompson is more valuable in their opinion, keep him. It’s not that difficult. Based on advanced statistics total win shares, Love was third behind Durant and Lebron James. That’s pretty elite company. Curry was actually fourth and Thompson wasn’t in the top 20. So if the Warriors are fans of the analytics, Love should be their guy.
The final thing that the Warriors must decide, and quickly, is whether or not they are going to pay Thompson the max contract. Thompson wants a max contract, he’s already said that. The Warriors are already cap strapped with the Iguodala, Bogut and Lee deals. Those three guys are overpaid, but two were already signed before the Warriors acquired them. There would be no possible way unless one or all of those guys took pay cuts that the Warriors would be able to sign Thompson to the contract he wants, which would mean losing him for nothing.
The Warriors understand all of these scenarios as the management is very smart. I think that they are willing to trade Thompson for Love, but this is just a way of getting Minnesota to act quicker and get the deal done with them because they know that’s the best deal that Minnesota could possibly get. Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders has said that he wants to make the playoffs this season and in that case what’s better than a proven All-Star player in Lee and a potential one in Thompson.
Whether or not this deal gets done remains to be seen, but if a trade does happen it will happen on or right before draft night. There’s certainly other teams trying to find Love, like the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets in particular, however those two teams’ offers don’t add up to what the Warriors are offering. Proven players are worth more than unproven draft picks.
Following these rumors will be interesting because if any team can work the magic and get their guy it is the Warriors and if Love ends up in a Warriors uniform it will be another great move by the Warriors ownership toward building a legitimate title contender in the Bay Area.