The Golden State Warriors have made it clear to the NBA that they will make bold moves and do whatever they can to put themselves in the best position to contend for a title next season. The Warriors could make a big, bold move if they pull off a trade for Kevin Love.
They have been linked to Love in trade rumors for the whole offseason. Originally, there were rumors of the Warriors sending David Lee and Harrison Barnes to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Love, but according to ESPN, the Warriors are now willing to include Klay Thompson in a trade for Love.
Warriors fans have actively been discussing whether or not they think the Warriors should give up Thompson in order to acquire Love. As with any potential trade, there are several pros and cons to this situation.
The pros are fairly obvious. Love is a top-10 talent in the NBA, and he’s a three-time All-Star. He’s also an Olympian, he’s a two-time All-NBA Second Team selection, he’s a Three-Point Shootout champion, and he led the NBA in rebounds in 2011.
Besides all these impressive accolades, he’d fit in well with this Warriors team too. He’s a double-double machine who inhales rebounds but can also spread the floor and shoot threes. He’s great in pick-and-rolls and can post up too.
Pick-and-rolls between Stephen Curry and Love would put a lot of defenses to shame. If the defense decides to over-help and trap Curry like many defenses did last year, Curry could swing the ball out to Love for a three. He’s unable to do that with Andrew Bogut or Lee, because they can’t spread the floor like Love can. If the defense decides to step back and prepare for the roll by Love, Curry can go one-on-one and create his own shot.
If Thompson was traded, it could potentially allow Curry to get more shots, it could potentially allow Barnes to get more playing time and get the development and confidence he needs, and it could potentially improve the Warriors’ overall shot selection.
As much as the offense would fluorish with Love in the Warriors’ starting lineup, there are some cons to this potential trade too. Most of the negative aspects of this trade are more about losing a player like Thompson, not necessarily about Love.
First of all, this Warriors’ roster already needs another shooter. If the Warriors trade away Thompson, how do they replace his shooting? Hypothetically, the Warriors might get Kevin Martin in addition to Love in a trade, so Martin would certainly add more shooting to the Warriors’ bench. The Warriors would lose some shooting in the starting lineup though, even with the addition of Love.
In addition, Thompson has truly developed into an impressive two-way player, so the Warriors would greatly miss his defense too. Martin would somewhat make up for Thompson’s shooting, but he is certainly a downgrade defensively from Thompson, who has developed into an elite defender.
Thompson can guard point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards, and he’s aggressive on defense. He has quick feet, so very few players can beat him to the basket or to a spot. He has active hands, and his length can disrupt a player’s shot. He also guards whichever player is the tougher defensive assignment in the opponent’s backcourt.
Replacing Lee with Love in the starting lineup would probably make up for the loss of Thompson, but the Warriors need to get a solid shooting guard to make up for Thompson’s play on both ends of the court. Martin might not completely fill the Warriors’ needs, so the Warriors would probably have to make another separate move.
In addition to the difficulty the Warriors would face in making up for Thompson’s defense, they’d also potentially upset their superstar more than they already have. Curry was one of the most vocal, diehard supporters of Mark Jackson, and the Warriors clearly upset Curry, at least a little, when they fired Jackson so quickly after the team was eliminated from the playoffs.
Whether or not firing Coach Jackson was the wrong move or not for the team on the court, it wasn’t exactly the smartest move for the Warriors’ front office to go against their star player’s wishes and ignore his opinion. Obviously, the front office has to look at the team from a big picture perspective and can’t necessarily make a decision because of one player’s feelings.
However, if the Warriors decide to trade Lee and Thompson, Curry might become more upset, since Lee and Thompson are two of his closest friends on the team and he’s been so adamant about his desire for the Warriors to re-sign Thompson. After the Warriors fired Coach Jackson, Curry suggested and nearly begged that the Warriors keep his backcourt mate, Thompson.
It’s not smart for the Warriors to make it a habit of upsetting and ignoring the wishes of their superstar. Curry is the ultimate professional and wouldn’t publicly make a fuss about a possible trade of Thompson, but it potentially could sway his opinion on if he wants to remain a Warrior for his whole career.
Curry is the face of the franchise and the future of this Warriors team. He’s a smart player, and he wants to maintain the impressive team chemistry that the Warriors have. The Warriors need to take Curry’s opinion into consideration this time around.
Warriors’ general manager Bob Myers recently spoke to Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group about the possibility of a big trade happening:
“I think probably right now unlikely. It’s the best I can do for you. But I will say this: If you asked me last year at this time would we be in a situation to grab an (Andre) Iguodala, I would have said the same thing.
“Right now, I think it’s unlikely. Right now, today.”
As Myers suggested, a lot of the rumored trades never happen, so who knows if Thompson will even be traded or if the Warriors will even acquire Love. This will certainly be a tough decision for the Warriors though, if a trade is actually proposed.
With the hiring of Steve Kerr, this is the start of a new era and a new culture for the Warriors, and hopefully for fans, they start out this new era by making the right decisions.