The Oklahoma City Thunder, the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers: what do these teams have in common?
They all are considered elite and have two superstars that lead their respective teams. The Golden State Warriors are looking to join this elite group as soon as next season.
The Warriors have been in constant rumors linking them to All-NBA power forward Kevin Love. The Warriors would have to give up a boatload to land this perennial All-Star but he may be just the player they need to contend for a championship for years to come. It has been reported that they would have to give up David Lee, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and a future first round pick to acquire Love, which would dramatically change this team. This is an awful lot to give up for Love, especially adding Green to the deal but the Warriors should at least consider it before turning down a deal.
A deal breaker would be if the Timberwolves asked for Klay Thompson in the deal for Love. The Warriors should not part with Thompson because he has the ability to become a superstar and possibly the best player on the team because he is a better defender than Curry. So even if the Warriors don’t acquire Love, they may have a superstar in the wings in Thompson. The Warriors don’t have to give up Thompson, but they should definitely consider this deal.
If the Warriors can’t make this deal and acquire a second superstar, they will not be a title contender. You just need to look at the Indiana Pacers with their lone superstar, Paul George, and their inability to get over the top (the Miami Heat). You can also look at players from the past and present like LeBron James in Cleveland, Carmelo Anthony in New York, and Kevin Garnett in Minnesota. Only James made it to a NBA Finals but could not win it.
The only exception to the two-superstar teams that have won championships may be the San Antonio Spurs. Tony Parker is the only superstar on the team but Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli have been Hall of Fame players throughout their careers so that experience may make up for the lack of superstars. It should be mentioned that Duncan and Ginobli were superstars earlier in their careers so that could also explain their tremendous success, as well as having the best coach in the NBA, Gregg Popovich.
Assuming the Warriors keep Thompson, the acquisition of Love would give the Warriors the best starting five in the NBA with superstar Stephen Curry and Thompson in the backcourt and Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut and Love on the front line. They might not have much off the bench but with this five, they may not need much. Love would give the Warriors a second superstar and a stretch-four they desperately needed in the postseason. Lee was supposed to be that stretch four this season, but his jumper was largely ineffective, a stark contrast compared to his 2012-13 season.
Not only would Love be an upgrade over Lee, but he would also be the perfect teammate for Curry. Love can spread the floor with his ability to shoot the three and can get his teammates involved with his outlet passes or commanding a double-team in the post, finding Curry, Thompson and others for open shots. Love rebounds at a higher rate than Lee, and even though he does not play good defense, the remaining Warriors should make up for his mistakes.
Love is also a guy that can take over a game, something that was desperately needed when Curry struggled this season. Thompson, at times, could take over a game but Love has proven that he is a superstar, perennial All-Star and MVP candidate that can be the first option on any team when you need a bucket. That is part of the reason the Warriors lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs; they didn’t have that second superstar when the Clippers did. The Clippers’ superstars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, were just enough to get the Clippers over the top against Curry and the Warriors.
The series could have been much different with Love in the fold. The Clippers big men would have been forced to leave the lane to guard Love on the perimeter because of his shooting prowess. It would open up the court, giving the Warriors’ wing players driving lanes and more open shots. This kind of offense would make the Warriors devastating and would make them an immediate title contender next season, especially with the defense they already play.
Steve Kerr has already said he wants to the Warriors’ offense to be more free-flowing and with Love on the team, it will just open it up for Curry and Thompson. So if the price is right, the Warriors should pull the trigger on this deal and they will become elite because of it.