The Warriors are no strangers to hard trades
The Golden State Warriors have had to make their fair share of hard decisions over the years. They didn't retain fan-favorite role players in pursuit of titles. Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes were cast off in pursuit of Kevin Durant. Monta Ellis was a casualty of Stephen Curry's rising star.
The worst example came in 2019, when the Warriors were coming off of that NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors. The Warriors had a brief window of opportunity to structure Kevin Durant's free-agent departure as a sign-and-trade, receiving back D'Angelo Russell. Such a maneuver would hard-cap them, however, meaning they needed to shed salary.
The solution? Trading Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies in a salary dump, adding in a first-round pick that is still kicking around the league. He made his way to the Miami Heat and had another Finals run while the Warriors reset, then rejoined them for another championship run in 2022.
The move in front of the Warriors now, however, would be much worse.
Klay Thompson is a franchise legend
Klay Thompson was drafted by the Warriors over 12 years ago. He has played 795 games for the franchise, been to six NBA Finals, won four rings, made five All-Star Games and twice made an All-NBA team. He ranks 10th all-time in career 3-pointers and would rank first in franchise history if he didn't play alongside the greatest shooter in NBA history.
Perhaps most poignantly, he has made it clear that he wants to play his entire career with the Warriors. He told The Athletic's Anthony Slater before the season "I wouldn't want to go anywhere else...I've just been so lucky to be a part of this franchise. It'd be so hard to envision myself in another uniform."
This is the greatest period of basketball in the history of the Warriors franchise. Klay Thompson is one third of a dynasty that has reached heights no other NBA team has ever reached, including the only 73-win series in league history. Klay is as integral to the Warriors franchise as any running mate in league history.
That's why it would be a backstabbing of historic proportions if the Warriors trade him. Could the franchise really do it?