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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Could the Warriors say yes?

Let's get the obvious out of the way: it will be exceedingly difficult for the Golden State Warriors to part ways with a franchise icon in such a way. If he walks in free agency the blame isn't solely on them; nor is the guilt. The Warriors don't want to trade Klay no matter how his game has eroded.

If they move past the emotions of the situation and conclude that they need to trade Klay, both to boost this year's run and avoid a potentially messy free-agent situation this summer, is this the kind of deal they could accept?

Thompson is 33 years old, missed 2.5 seasons due to significant lower leg injuries, and has clearly lost a step. He can no longer defend opposing guards, his personal shot creation has atrophied and while he can still shoot as well as anyone, he has become streakier over the past few years.

That's part of the argument for trading him, and part of the argument for not offering a lucrative new contract, but also speaks to a lower return were they to shop him. This deal from the Cavaliers actually sends back more overall value than they would expect from almost any other team.

Does that make this deal worth doing? The size and defense of Jarrett Allen would transform their interior defense, and he provides very real vertical spacing on offense. Caris LeVert provides insurance against an injury to Chris Paul as an on-on-ball playmaker who has improved as a shooter and defender in Cleveland.

As hard as it is for Warriors fans to hear, this is excellent value for Thompson at this point in his career and given his contract situation.

With that being said, this deal also doesn't make them a signifcantly better team. Klay's shooting is a lethal weapon and LeVert is somewhat superfluous on the team If everyone is healthy. Allen is a superior player than Trayce Jackson-Davis but the rookie provides much of what Allen does at a fraction of the price.

If the Warriors are going to do something as painful as trade Klay Thompson, it needs to be in a deal that clearly elevates them back into the ring of title contenders. This deal makes them better....probably, but it doesn't make them inevitable.

There may be a point when the Warriors have to make a painful decision. This one is defensible, but ultimately it's one they should pass on.

Grade: B

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