Ex-Warriors GM Larry Riley Denies Steph, Klay Were Nearly Traded for Chris Paul

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIApril 18, 2020

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, center, celebrates with guard Stephen Curry, left, after scoring against the Chicago Bulls during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

Former Golden State Warriors general manager Larry Riley refuted he ever considered trading Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for Chris Paul in 2011.

Rumors of the supposed trade surfaced Thursday after the release of Ethan Sherwood Strauss' new book The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports), in which he wrote the Warriors were in talks to land Paul from the New Orleans Hornets at the time.

Riley, now a senior adviser with the Atlanta Hawks, went on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco to correct the record.

"First off, that's false," Riley said. "That never took place, and therefore, I think everybody learned something. When you—I had to tell my mother this cuz she grew up in the days of Walter Cronkite—when you see something on TV or you read it in the newspaper, it's not necessarily true.

"I never had a conversation with anybody about packaging our two guards to do something else. Steph Curry came to the Warriors and he won himself over as a Warrior for life, if he wanted to be, at the second half of his rookie season. He established the fact this is our point guard for the next 10 years."

Strauss wrote then-assistant GM Bob Myers—now the team's president of basketball operations—came close to reaching a deal with Hornets GM Dell Demps, but Paul maintained he would not re-sign with Golden State if traded there.

That ended the alleged trade talks.

Why an assistant general manager would engage in those trade talks without approval from his boss is another question entirely.

Regardless, Riley wouldn't have allowed it.

"While there was a lot of discussion about the possibilities of trading him, it was never a reality," Riley said. "And we never had a discussion about trading Klay Thompson and Steph Curry for anybody else. It would be very interesting because the author of this piece, without doubt, talked to somebody who gave him some information. So, it would be a little bit interesting to track that, but I can tell you right now, that never happened."

In the end, Paul landed with the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Warriors became the league's model franchise thanks to Curry and Thompson.