Are the Warriors on the verge of making their second big splash of the offseason?
If the comments made by shooting guard Klay Thompson’s father are any indication, a blockbuster deal could happen soon.
Former NBA star Mychael Thompson told a Los Angeles radio station Thursday that Klay Thompson, power forward David Lee and a future first-round pick could be headed to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for All-Star power forward Kevin Love and guard Kevin Martin. National media added that the trade could involve point guard J.J. Berea and the 13th overall pick in next week’s NBA Draft. The Warriors do not have a first-round pick this year as they used it to acquire swingman Andre Iguodala last summer.
“My source knows what’s going on up there [in Oakland],” Thompson, a Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster, reporterdly told an ESPN Radio affiliate in L.A., according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. “And since this guy told me that this is really close to happening, it just kind of depressed me.”
Should the trade go down, it would mark the second major move of the offseason for the Warriors, who fired coach Mark Jackson on May 8 and replaced him with Steve Kerr, who has no previous coaching experience.
Thompson, a 3-point specialist who shot 41.7 percent from long range while playing 81 of 82 games this season, averaged 18.4 points per game in helping the Warriors return to the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to the Los Angeles Clippers. Lee, an All-Star in the 2012-13 season, averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds in 69 games this season.
But adding Love, who can opt out of his contract next summer and has said he will not re-sign with the Wolves, would make the Warriors’ offense more diverse and add a better defensive presence than Lee in the post. Love averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 77 games this season. He was named second-team All-NBA.
“It’s disappointing, because Klay and I have been talking about this all summer and the possibility of this happening, as far as him and Kevin being together on the same team — along with Steph Curry,” Mychal Thompson said. “And he was really looking forward to that. He thought that if you added Love to the Splash Brothers, with [Andrew] Bogut and [Andre] Iguodala, they had a chance … to get to the West finals next year.
“If this happens, I’m going to have to talk him down off the ledge.”
The benefit for Thompson would be that he would become a focal point of the Timberwolves’ offense and be able to earn a max contract next offseason, something he likely wouldn’t be able to do if he remained with the Warriors.
Love and Bogut, a center, would give the Warriors a strong inside combination that could keep defenders off Curry, perhaps the premier 3-point shooter in the NBA, and Iguodala, a slashing offensive player and standout defender. The trade could also pave the way for more playing time for forwards Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes.