Grade the Trade: Warriors replace Klay, take risk on 2x All-Star's toxic contract in bold proposal

Golden State Warriors v Chicago Bulls
Golden State Warriors v Chicago Bulls / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages
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Why would the Golden State Warriors make this trade?

This entire trade idea needs to be prefaced by seeing LaVine as a replacement for Klay Thompson, rather than the two playing together on the Warriors next season. In an interview with 95.7 The Game on Monday, The Athletic's Anthony Slater hinted that any trade involving Paul's contract (which is non-guaranteed) would be a hint that Thompson will depart in free agency.

Given their aspirations to get under the second-tax apron, Golden State aren't going to bring in LaVine while re-signing Thompson on a deal in excess of $20 million per season. As much as they'd prefer the veteran sharpshooter on half the salary, adding LaVine could actually result as a reasonable upgrade if they can get his body right.

The offensive talent has never been in question for LaVine who has averaged more than 24 points in four of the past five seasons, including a career-high 27.4 in 2020-21. The Warriors need a secondary shot-maker to support Stephen Curry, and at his best LaVine could fill that void as someone capable of being a three-level scorer.

This is a trade that would get the Warriors an All-Star calibre player while retaining the flexibility to make other moves this offseason. They'd still have Andrew Wiggins' contract, young assets in Jonathan Kuminga, Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis, plus their future picks, to explore another trade in the coming months.


Contrary to the expected belief of many, this shouldn't be viewed as a horrifying trade for Golden State. However, it would ultimately depend on what other moves they could make in the offseason and/or if Kuminga develops into a genuine 20-point scorer next season.

Relying on LaVine as a sole second option is far too risky at this point given his recent injury history, but as a third option he might be the sort of piece that can help boost the Warriors' offense into one of the best in the league.

It's an almighty risk from a financial aspect, but buying low and banking on themselves to get the best out of LaVine may be the sort of move the Warriors need to make to rejuvenate their roster.

Grade: C