Jan 24, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) dribbles past Minnesota Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer (13) in the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Timberwolves defeated the Warriors 121-120. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors Shouldn’t Trade Klay Thompson For Kevin Love

After an incredible 51-win campaign that ended in a seven game series and a first round loss against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Golden State Warriors head into the offseason with an unfamiliar mindset: “Win now.”

With back-to-back playoff berths for the first time since the 1992 season, the Warriors are in a golden era, and are considered a potential championship contender rather than the perennial lottery bound team. In the astonishingly competitive Western Conference that saw a 48-win team miss the playoffs, the Warriors are caught in an arms race to bring in elite players who might be able to bring this franchise a sorely needed title. Already flaunting a roster that includes sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, it is no surprise that the Warriors top the short list of Kevin Love suitors. 

If Love is to become the newest member of the Warriors, expectations for the coming 2014-15 season would shoot through the roof. With an All-NBA caliber offense around Curry and Love combined with an All-NBA caliber defense in Andrew Bogut, Thompson and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors would instantly become favorites against even the strongest teams in the NBA. So it makes sense that the front office is publicly doing all it can to bring in Love. 

However, it would be a mistake to give up the multi-talented Thompson to get the deal done. Thompson must be considered a franchise player if the Warriors want to maintain a winning organization. Iguodala was brought in to be the defensive anchor on the wing to balance Bogut’s interior presence. As the season unfolded, Thompson has taken over this role and has flourished into a defensive stud. The Warriors often relied on Thompson to blanket any play-making point guards and to cover prolific shooters. They played defense as well as any other team last year and the majority of the credit goes to Thompson. 

Not only has Thompson developed into a big-bodied defender capable of defending any opponent’s best perimeter player, but he is also becoming a dangerous slasher capable of penetrating the defense and creating space for his teammates. The offense last year was stagnant to say the least, but Thompson has shown throughout the season that he is becoming more comfortable attacking the rim and relying less on his shot. He has all the physical capabilities to overmatch any shooting guard in the league and has already developed a shooter’s reputation to rival teammate Curry. While Curry will continue to dazzle and shoot at historic rates, Thompson will be the key in keeping a star-studded offense running smoothly. 

Kevin Love provides an immediate upgrade to David Lee, and while Love’s skill set is an uncanny fit for the Warriors’ needs, Thompson’s absence negates any real progress from Love’s addition. The long-suffering fans are probably anxiously demanding any blockbuster move that may help bring the Warriors to the top, but it is important to recognize how much this team has already improved.

The risk of regression outweighs any significant improvement, both offensively and defensively, and the Warriors would be better off rejecting any trade involving Klay Thompson. 

Tags: Golden State Warriors Kevin Love Klay Thompson

  • Ihatedumbdubsfan

    The author’s short sighted view..another Klay fanatic!

  • 510 Sports

    Wow, I have never seen a player move so quickly from underrated to overrated within one fan base as Klay Thompson!

    • Ihatedumbdubsfan

      Yup, my sentiment exactly!

  • lolona

    Finally, a voice of reason on the potential Klay Thompson trade. There’s a reason why neither Kerr nor West want to give him up: they actually understand basketball and Klay’s impact on the team.

    • Ihatedumbdubsfan

      If he turns into a MJ or Durant, then I can understand your infatuation to Klay. But I highly doubt that will ever happen. The only reason he was able to score that much was because of MJax lackadaisical way of coaching and it didn’t matter if he was hitting 2 of 30 FG% or getting 5 fouls in 5 minutes. He was never consistent day in and day out and I doubt he will ever be. Only a person who don’t understand Basketball would not trade Klay for Love! SMH!

      • lolona

        So in your mind only MJ or Durant are better than Kevin Love. Interesting take.

        Clearly you watched little, if any, Warriors basketball. When did Klay shoot for a 2 for 30 FG percentage? You’re saying Klay would routinely shoot 6%. That has, obviously, no basis in actual fact – much like the claim that Klay would get 5 fouls in 5 minutes. When, exactly, did that ever occur?

        Klay is the best perimeter defender on the team, was 2nd in the entire NBA in 3-pointers made, has the 3rd highest percentage on 3-pointers for people with over 400 attempts, has set an NBA record for most 3-pointers made for someone over their first 3 seasons, and last year added a post up game and improved around the rim. Kevin Love? He’s accumulated meaningless stats on a garbage team.

  • Arne

    You realize that Kevin Love and Stephen Curry (according to Basketball Reference) have the 3rd and 4th highest win shares in basketball? 27 wins guaranteed just from two guys. Klay is a good guy, good all around player, but two of the top four win share guys in the league would be unprecedented. Closest recent example was Westbrook and Durant being top 5 year before last. And OKC had a great year with less talent in the rest of the starting 5. Bogut/Ezeli way better than anything OKC had. Iggy kills Sefalosha. Yes, they’d be thin at some positions, but with Barnes and Livingston…damn. I used to be a big Klay supporter, but this is beginning to look like madness.

    • methuselah46

      If the equation were Thompson + draft picks & filler for Love I’d say make the trade, but for all his shortcomings, David Lee is essentially Kevin Love lite. Great rebounder, passer, & scorer. Both guys are poor defenders so that’s a push. The only real advantage to Love is his 3-pt shot & the potential loss of team chemistry may cause more regression Loves shooting range adds to the team.

      Also, Love’s rebounding numbers are slightly better than Lee’s, but Love was essentially the T-Wolves ONLY rebounder while Lee had to share rebounds with Bogut.

      • Matt

        But keep in mind that David Lee’s jump shot basically disappeared last year. If the Dubs add Love, they also add valuable floor spacing that they just don’t have with Lee. I’d say for that added value, the trade is worth it.

        • methuselah46

          Who’s to say that Lee’s jump shot won’t return next season? It’s been reliable in the past. It might have been the result of all the weight he lost. I have no reason to believe his jump shot won’t be back. There were even rumors last year that he had worked on developing 3-pt range during the off season.

          I’d rather the devil I know than risk blowing up the team. It looks like Minny wants to hang on to Love until the trade deadline. Let’s see what happens then. They might even keep him the whole season & try to persuade him to stay (unlikely) in which case maybe the Dubs can sign him as a free agent.

          • Ihatedumbdubsfan

            You guys are so clueless and so hard on on both Klay and Lee. Curry’s salary is so vastly low right now and this is the only time that they can trade and sign a caliber player (love, lebron and melo) and go for a title run. This is the only time that you’ve seen these type of players available, I don’t see anyone with that caliber going out next year, do you? This is the damn frustration I have with the Warriors front office, not doing anything but sitting in their ASS!!! After promising that they will go after a Superstar!!!

  • Matt

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Klay and I think he’s one of the best shooting guards in the game. But I think you overvalued him here. He can defend his position, but is by no means a “defensive stud.” By swapping Thompson for Love, Green slides in to start at the 3, and Iggy plays the two. I don’t think they lose a step on defense, and with Love they improve their offense. I say you have to do the deal.

  • Isbonifacio

    Lebron’s move back to Cleveland certainly makes the bidding war for Kevin Love that much tighter for the Warriors. The ultimate question is whether a Warriors team of (A) Curry, Igoudala, Green/Barnes, Bogut and Love is better overall than a team with (B) Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Bogut and Lee. With (A) you lose Thompson’s 3 point shooting and defense but you gain Love’s 3 point shooting, rebounding and passing and the question would be can Green/Barnes can pick up the slack with scoring and defense? With (B) we’ve seen what they can do and the question becomes can they be better with Kerr’s coaching?

    I’m inclined to think that they can greatly improve and get over the hump by adding Love. The Curry/Love combination could really become a devastating force and with Livingston as a second point guard, you could have Curry and Love as spot up 3 point shooters and spread the court. There’s a lot to be gained by adding Love to the mix.

  • Guest

    Klay Thompson is a great catch and shoot, 3-point specialist. But he’s allergic to passing, can’t dribble-drive, doesn’t get to the free throw line, and his defensive is average at best. Everyone hypes his defense. But he has a NEGATIVE defensive rating and that’s only because people compare him to Curry who’s also horrible at that end. Yes, Klay can hide defend the quicker PG’s in the league because of his size. But last time I checked, he wasn’t 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team All-Defense. If anything, I’m stocked about the Shaun Livingston signing because he not only has the size of Klay Thompson, but is actually good on the defensive end. Just because you have the size/length, doesn’t mean you have the technique (i.e. Kevin Durant)

    Curry has to expend so much energy creating his own shot, handling the offensive load, and getting other players involved that I can forgive him for being lax defensively. But Klay literally does nothing else as demonstrated by his 2 assists/3 rebounds a game on average for his career. People keep saying he’ll be an All-Star. But in 3 years, no improvement? Not to mention, this is the guy holding up a Kevin Love trade? Kevin Love is 25 years old and already a 3X All-Star. He’s the only player since the ABA/NBA merger to average 26/12/4. He’s not great defensively, but he still graded out with a positive grade. And he had the third highest PER in the league behind only Kevin Durant and LeBron James. You’re telling me Klay is too good to trade for this guy?! I could argue Kevin Martin is on par with Klay Thompson. The numbers don’t lie.

    I’m sick and tired of the Warriors being a brain-dead organization. I thought we would had learned something from the Monta Ellis trade. BIG MEN HAVE A MUCH GREATER IMPACT! I also find it hilarious that if we keep Klay Thompson, we’re going to have to wind up paying this clown a max-contract. A guy who’s not even a superstar. Is Klay worth $15-16 million a year? I find that to be a joke.

  • Chris Johnson

    Klay Thompson is a great catch and shoot, 3-point specialist. But he’s allergic to passing, can’t dribble-drive, doesn’t get to the free throw line, and his defense is average at best. Everyone hypes his defense, but he has a NEGATIVE defensive rating and probably only gets that praise because Curry is so bad himself. Yes, he can defend the quicker PG’s in the league by using his length. But last time I checked, he wasn’t 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team All-Defense. If anything, he doesn’t do anything newly-signed Shaun Livingston can’t do; and Livingston is better because with his size, he has great technique. Klay’s status as an “elite defender” in some eyes is eerily similar to those who argue Kevin Durant is one as well. It’s actually pretty mind-boggling.

    Curry has to expend so much energy creating his own shot, handling the offensive load, and getting other players involved that I can forgive him for being lax defensively. But Klay literally does nothing else as demonstrated by his 2 assists/3 rebounds a game on average. People keep saying he’ll be an All-Star, but in 3 years, I’ve seen no improvement, which has me thinking he’s peaked already. If that’s the case, the Warriors are telling me this is the guy holding up a Kevin Love trade? Kevin Love is 25 years old, already a 3X All-Star, the only player since the ABA/NBA merger to average 26/12/4, and is still getting better. He’s not great defensively, but he still graded out with a positive grade and had the third highest PER in the league behind only Kevin Durant and LeBron James. You’re telling me Klay is too good to trade for this guy?! I could argue Kevin Martin is on par with Klay Thompson. The numbers don’t lie.

    I’m sick and tired of the Warriors being a brain-dead organization. I thought we would had learned something from the Monta Ellis trade. BIG MEN HAVE A MUCH GREATER IMPACT! I also find it hilarious that if we keep Klay Thompson, we’re going to have to wind up paying this clown a max-contract. A guy who’s not even a superstar. Is Klay worth $15-16 million a year? I find that to be a joke. This is our one chance to get a superstar to pair with Curry and our one chance to be able to AFFORD ONE.