The Golden State Warriors can still win a championship. That’s what this organization believes; that Stephen Curry can be the best player on a championship team, that Draymond Green can still anchor a defense, that this roster can still get it done. That belief drove them to add a win-now player in Chris Paul.
There may be a point this season when their belief is challenged by the reality of their roster, when they aren’t playing at a championship level. At that point, they can either make another win-now trade, or they can try to get younger to keep contending for the next few seasons even as Curry and Green age.
In either scenario, their best way to add a difference-maker is to use Klay Thompson in the trade, giving them a large amount of matching salary tied up in a player who is more valuable than CP3 but (arguably) less critical to their success than Andrew Wiggins or Draymond Green. It’s not like the Warriors haven’t considered trading Klay before.
Without delving too deep into the question of whether the Warriors should trade Klay, let’s instead ask the question of who they might trade him for. We aren’t building specific trades or suggesting these are perfectly balanced, merely examining the kinds of players that the Warriors could look at. Here are seven players the Warriors could replace Klay with by the Trade Deadline.
7. Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks
Even as Klay Thompson has regained most of his offensive game after his two catastrophic injuries, his defense has lagged behind. He lost much of the lateral mobility and agility that he had before the injuries, and that has meant he is much more comfortable defending opposing forwards than he is chasing guards.
The Warriors reacquired Gary Payton II to address that need, but his offensive game is very dependent and he won’t be guarded by many playoff defenses. Enter Jrue Holiday, who is one of the league’s best perimeter defenders and can both initiate offense and shoot well enough to keep defenses honest. He’s the same age as Klay but without the injury history, which should help him continue playing at a high level longer than the sharpshooting wing.