Grade the Trade: Warriors send Klay to Finals rival in bittersweet proposal

Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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The Golden State Warriors have righted the ship, at least for now. After spiraling down to the dregs of the NBA standings, they have rebounded in a major way, knocking off both rebuilding teams and title contenders to get back into the playoff mix in the Western Conference.

They have done so without Draymond Green, the backbone of their defense and yet the bane of their existence. As they push Green to be honest with the team and with himself behind the scenes, on the court the Warriors' recent success has been driven primarily by two factors: the continued rise of their young players, and the resuscitation of Klay Thompson's scoring and shooting ability.

The Warriors would be forgiven for thinking that they are back on track to be a contender when the playoffs roll around. In fact, they probably will talk themselves into this championship core leading them back into battle. Any thoughts of trading a core player have likely been shelved.

Could the Warriors possibly trade Klay Thompson?

What if the Warriors didn't grow complacent with a hot steak, however? What if they recognized that they still lack team size, that their playmaking is still centered in a collection of aging players who are liable to miss time due to injury (Chris Paul) or immaturity (Draymond Green) and that Klay's improved shooting over the past two weeks is actually an opportunity to sell him at peak value?

This isn't an endorsement of trading Klay; just an attempt to ask the question that no one is asking any longer. Klay is hurtling toward free agency and the expectation of a large salary offer from the Warriors; their team is both old and expensive, and handing the baton to the youth movement may mean something as drastic as trading one of their longtime franchise icons.

If they were to consider such a move, is there a team that could specifically use Klay's services and has both size and playmaking to offer back in a deal? Let's look at one such deal in detail and see if it's something that the Warriors could consider.