Best Potential Trade Packages, Scenarios and Landing Spots for Klay Thompson
Taken 11th overall in the 2011 draft, the sharpshooting Thompson has steadily emerged as one of the league’s most intriguing emerging stars—the silent-but-deadly Splash Brothers counterpart to Stephen Curry’s face-of-the-franchise persona.
The last month alone has seen Thompson’s name mentioned in trade scenarios involving Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves (according to ESPN’s Marc Stein) and the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers (per the Los Angeles Times’ Mike Bresnahan).
The market for Thompson may never be higher—at least while he’s still on his rookie contract.
Which got us thinking: What other possible trade packages might the Warriors be willing to entertain?
After weighing the options—based on cap space and relative roster need—we came up with five such scenarios.
So here they are, in no particular order:
Warriors get: Carlos Boozer, Jimmy Butler, 2014 first-round pick (No. 19)
It might not seem like it at first glance, but this is a deal that works out for both parties—near and long-term.
In Thompson, the Bulls would be getting something they’ve been desperately trying to get: a legitimate perimeter threat to pair with the slashing Derrick Rose. And while Lee’s longer deal might make Chicago think twice, his productivity is unassailable. His defense may drive Tom Thibodeau bananas, but…so did Carlos Boozer’s.
From Golden State’s perspective, you’re getting a capable wing defender (Butler) whose offensive game continues to grow. With this year’s No. 19 pick, the Dubs could select from any number of high-profile shooting guards, including T.J. Warren, James Young, Nik Stauskas or Gary Harris, assuming any of them drop that far.
Finally, Boozer’s expiring deal would put them anywhere between $13 and $15 million below the salary cap heading into the much-heralded 2015 free-agency period. It might not be enough to make a play on a max-level superstar, but in terms of rounding out an already solid roster, it’s no chump change, either.
Minnesota Wolves get: Klay Thompson, David Lee, 2015 first-round pick, 2017 first-round pick
Warriors get: Kevin Love, Shabazz Muhammad
It’s entirely conceivable the Wolves will field better offers, but judging by their front-office track record the last decade (selecting Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn in the same draft, for example), anything is on the table.
According to Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher, talks between the Wolves and Warriors stalled after Golden State repeatedly expressed reluctance to include Thompson in the deal.
Might this be a clever ploy to put Minnesota further on their heels? Perhaps. Whatever the motivation, if landing Love means parting with Thompson, Golden State should do that deal. Every time.
Thompson would give Minnesota a consistent perimeter presence, something it's desperately lacked in recent seasons. Lee, meanwhile, at least offers Minnesota a Love facsimile—someone who can score and rebound, albeit without the same range.
It’s also a template that could easily be tweaked, say by the Warriors throwing in Harrison Barnes and the Wolves adding Alexey Shved (with future first- and second-rounders going either way).
The Warriors? Well, they just reeled in their prized fish.
Cleveland Cavaliers get: Klay Thompson, Nemanja Nedovic
Warriors get: Dion Waiters
Clean. Simple. Sensical.
The purported feud between Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters may have been put temporarily on the media back burner, but if this recent discussion between Robert Attenweiler of Cavs: The Blog and ESPN's Brian Windhorst is to be believed, the animosity between the two guards hasn’t gone anywhere:
The truth is [Kyrie’s] camp has been putting out there for years – years – that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland. That they don’t want him in Cleveland. He doesn’t like Mike Brown. He didn’t like Chris Grant. He doesn’t like Dion Waiters. He’s already gotten a General Manager fired.
It’s being reported that Cleveland is prepared to offer Irving a maximum rookie-deal extension, per the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto. Should Irving bite, it’s possible he could make a few demands, chief among them that Waiters is dealt as soon as possible.
According to Fox Sports' Sam Amico, even Waiters believes his days in Cleveland could be numbered.
What the Warriors would be missing in Thompson’s three-point prowess, they’d be making up for it with Waiters’ still burgeoning perimeter defense. Add to that the fact that Waiters boosted his long-ball mark a full 50 percentage points from years one to two, there’s plenty of reason to believe he could prove a fine facsimile even on that front.
Meanwhile, the Cavs would be ridding themselves of an internal headache, while pairing Irving with a much more seamless backcourt match.
Phoenix Suns get: Klay Thompson, Hilton Armstrong
Warriors get: Gerald Green, two 2014 second-round picks
If there’s one thing last year’s Warriors lacked—outside of Andre Iguodala, perhaps—it was consistent perimeter penetration. In Gerald Green, Golden State would have that in spades. And with Green coming off his best, most efficient season to date (a PER of 16.5 and a three-point clip of 40 percent, just to cite two stats in particular), the Warriors would be getting a versatile wing player squarely in his prime.
Early last season, right about the time Phoenix was first beginning to raise eyebrows across the league, head coach Jeff Hornacek had some pretty high praise indeed for the 28-year-old journeyman (per Bright Side of the Sun's Kris Habbas):
Gerald can shoot the ball. He can finish plays and offensively he really adds something to our team. He spreads the court out; he's not a guy who has any problems about taking shots. Sometimes you have to live with some shots he takes, but he can make some of those crazy shots too so you kind of just let him go. He's kind of our Jamal Crawford-type guy. You like to see him be that aggressive guy because he's one of the guys on this team that can put up points in bunches.
Not a bad deal for a team looking to win now.
Thompson, meanwhile, would be an ideal fit in Hornacek’s drive-and-kick offense, and a slight upgrade over Green in terms of spot-up shooting. The Suns would doubtless miss Green’s freakish athleticism, but at least they’d be getting yet another future building block in return.
Orlando Magic get: Klay Thompson, Marreese Speights, Ognjen Kuzmic
Warriors get: Arron Afflalo
If the Warriors really want to win now—or put their best foot forward, at least—grabbing Arron Afflalo would be a brilliant move in that direction.
After years of flying under the radar, Affalo emerged as the best player on a young but plucky Orlando Magic team—a “3-and-D” two-way specialist who's managed to add a bevy of offensive moves to his repertoire.
Despite his cap-friendly contract, Orlando is looking to move the veteran guard this summer, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
Afflalo, 28, has two years left on his contract – including an Early Termination Option (ETO) provision next summer – and front office executives believe the Magic are prioritizing a trade for Afflalo over working to extend his contract.
With Afflalo and Iguodala roaming the perimeter, Golden State would enjoy unprecedented defensive flexibility—a pair of players effectively capable of guarding up to four positions. The fact that Affallo—not yet 29—just came off a season in which he shot 43 percent from distance only adds to his value.
Meanwhile, the Magic could continue with their youth-laden rebuild by pairing Thompson with the likes of Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless and Tobias Harris. For those concerned about a potential shooting-guard logjam, consider that both Oladipo and Thompson are capable of playing two positions, giving head coach Jacque Vaughn the kind of flexibility demanded by his San Antonio Spurs-inspired offense.