With a 7-9 record including seven losses in their last eight games, the Golden State Warriors have their issues after starting the season with legitimate championship aspirations.
One of the Warriors' biggest issues surrounds shooting-guard Klay Thompson, with the 33-year-old looking a shell of the player we saw last season never-mind the All-Star level he delivered prior to two major injuries.
The Ringer's Bill Simmons believes the Golden State Warriors won't have the courage to trade franchise legend Klay Thompson this season.
Adding to the conversation around Thompson is the fact he's eligible for a contract extension, having entered the final year of his deal on $43.2 million. Not only is the five-time All-Star looking to win a fifth NBA championship, but he's also playing for a new contract.
The thought of Thompson playing in a different team's jersey is an unfathomable one for many, but at the very least it's a possibility should a contract extension not come to fruition this season, leaving the veteran as a free agent in the offseason.
Yet more recently, Thompson's struggles and that of the Warriors has introduced speculation that the franchise could trade their future hall-of-famer. It would be a bold and controversial move, and not one the front office would have the courage to make according to The Ringer's Bill Simmons.
"They've been really hesitant to make big trades. I personally don't think they'll have the balls to trade Klay," Simmons said on a recent episode of his podcast. "That would be one of the most dramatic trades in recent NBA history for what the reaction would be. Yet, over and over again, teams have done trades like that when they've hit these fork in the road points.""
Drafted by the Warriors with the 11th pick in 2011, Thompson has grown into one of the best shooters in NBA history and one of the greatest and most beloved players in franchise history.
Simmons is right in suggesting the Warriors at are fork in the road, particularly given the continued MVP-level play of superstar Stephen Curry. The franchise must ask whether they still trust in their veteran core around Curry, or whether some tough calls need to be made in order prioritize winning.
Thompson has shown signs of life over the last two games, scoring 20+ in both including 23 on 6-10 shooting from three-point range against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. He's now averaging 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 40.9% shooting from the floor and 36.6% from beyond the arc.