Despite having zero draft picks in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors are still able to provide plenty of juicy headlines to fans of the league.
The most recent nugget of information is the potential blockbuster trade scenario that could bring All-Star Kevin Love to the Bay Area from Minnesota. Oakland had always been a potential destination for Love ever since he informed the Timberwolves he did not plan on re-signing; but the buzz became extreme when Warriors management indicated the inclusion of prized shooting guard Klay Thompson in trade talks.
Thompson’s inclusion is significant for two reasons:
1. The Warriors are incredibly serious with their interest in acquiring last year’s All-Star starter.
It is horrible for team morale if players are constantly being thrown into trade rumors. People are going to feel betrayed and hurt believing that management does not want them to be part of the organization. Management would not want to purposely create spite and erode the moral of a young asset like Thompson unless their pursuit of Love was legitimate.
2. The inclusion of Thompson gives the Warriors the best trade package for the Timberwolves over any other team in pursuit of Love by a wide margin.
No other team in the NBA can offer the Timberwolves a legitimate two-way scorer who’s just about to enter his prime. The Celtics can offer draft picks, but a proven young player is way more valuable for a team that doesn’t want to stink next year. Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson from the Bulls are nice players but they do not excite a depressed fan base. And teams like the Lakers and the Knicks? I think Minnesota would rather accept $20 cash for Love rather than anything those teams have to offer.
The point is if Minnesota is going to trade their star, which they must, Golden State is going to be the trade partner. And if there is any hesitation in the mind of Warrior fans, that doubt needs to stop. This is the biggest no brainer decision I can remember since becoming a Warrior fan.
Not only does Golden State have the opportunity to acquire a top 10 NBA player outside the draft. (Which is the most difficult thing to do in the NBA unless you’re named the Lakers.)
Not only would the Warriors possess the most dangerous and non-guardable pick-and-roll combination in the league with Curry and Love. (Seriously, it would be unstoppable.)
Not only would this team’s starting lineup be comprised of two of the best defensive players at their positions in Bogut and Iguodala paired with two of the most lethal offensive players in the league with Curry and Love. (Instant contenders.)
But this franchise would also be accomplishing something that I have personally lost sleep over. Something I assumed was extremely close to impossible. With this trade, the Timberwolves would be taking back David Lee and Golden State would be able to rid their salary cap of his atrocious contract! (This trade is too good to be true!)
It is no secret I wasn’t the biggest David Lee supporter last season. Yes, we all appreciate his consistent point and rebound totals every night, but in the back of smart fans minds the question lingered: “If David Lee represents 20% of the Dubs’ salary cap, where is this team going?”
We as fans haven’t been the only people asking this question. David Lee has been placed in multiple trade rumors by Warriors management throughout the prior few offseasons trying to unload his salary. However, being forced to pay Lee almost $14 million a year makes him one of the most untradeable players in the NBA. What’s worse is they can’t just dump his contract for nothing. This team has contending aspirations, which means they have to get a player of better quality in return. This criterion makes the chances of trading him even more remote.
It is very hard to imagine a team willing to take on a decent player who is way overpaid and provide a better quality player in return. Luckily, the Minnesota Timberwolves are in the league. Minnesota has come along and offered to solve one of the biggest problems facing this franchise (taking Lee’s contract) while also giving the Warriors a top 10 player in the NBA in return. I can’t stress enough how big of a no brainer this trade is for the Warriors. They have to do it!
So why don’t we see every Warrior fan dancing in the street given this beautiful opportunity? This trade would be bittersweet because Klay Thompson would be missed. We would miss his defense way more than his offense. Last season, Kevin Martin actually had a higher PPG total at 19.1 than Thompson’s 18.6. But Martin is an atrocious defender. The Warriors would need to think hard about strategy adjustments regarding the backcourt defensive situation. But again, I believe the Warriors would rather face those problems with two of the best 10 players in the NBA.
I cannot see how the Golden State Warriors could pass up this trade. Being able to shed David Lee’s contract while getting back Love is an amazing opportunity. This trade would give the team a legitimate contending core to build around for many years to come. It’s a milestone moment for this organization and I have faith they will make the right move.