BOSTON -- When it comes to the Golden State Warriors, putting up big numbers is what they do.
But earlier this week, there was a number that jumped out like no other this season.
There’s a cost associated with winning, as we all know.
But damn! $1.3 billion dollars!
Just imagine all that $1.3 billion dollars can buy.
Looking at that price tag, the Warriors are likely to do what most NBA teams do: Seek ways to cut costs without significantly impacting the bottom line, which, for them, is winning.
And that might make Klay Thompson available.
I know. I know. It sounds crazy as hell to think that they would even contemplate moving one of the best two-way players in the NBA.
But the fiscal realities of this new-age NBA, sooner or later, will force teams to eventually make some tough, hard-to-stomach decisions that will be motivated primarily by money.
Kevin Durant is going to be in Golden State as long as he wants. Ditto for two-time MVP Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, players who are all going to be max-salaried players after Curry signs a new deal this summer.
WHO'D SAY NO?
- First potential trade: New Orleans' Anthony Davis
- Second potential trade: Indiana's Paul George
- Third potential trade: Golden State's Klay Thompson
- Fourth potential trade: New York's Kristaps Porzingis
- Fifth potential trade: Three-way with Kings and 76ers for Okafor, Saric and two picks
When you factor in the contracts they'll need to fill out the rest of their roster, it’s hard to imagine their Fab Four will remain intact much longer.
The four-year, $69 million contract Thompson signed in 2015 was a great deal, one that Thompson has surprisingly been able to out-perform despite the talent around him.
But when he hits the free-agent market in two years, he'll easily command a contract averaging more than $30 million annually. Moving him sooner rather than later gives the Warriors added financial flexibility in the short-term and long-term.
I’m a big fan of Thompson’s game, and, to be candid, wouldn’t move him. I would let his deal lapse, talk about doing an extension, and move on from there if we couldn’t get a deal done,
But if the Warriors are concerned about losing him and having nothing to show for it, dealing him sooner rather than later might be the wisest strategy.
In comes Boston, one of the few teams that can give the Warriors a player with a similar defensive skillset AND quality assets (i.e., draft picks) that could provide depth at an affordable (rookie scale) cost compared to what they would have to pay for free agents.
Here’s one potential trade proposal.
Warriors 2018 Pick
2018 Brooklyn Pick
Boston gets the best player in this scenario, but the Warriors are compensated by adding an elite defender in Bradley plus some frontcourt depth as well, as a likely top-5 selection in next year’s draft.
But if Golden State becomes a stickler for getting the Celtics' No. 1 pick this year, here’s another possible trade scenario that I hate, but might get a deal done.
2020 Warriors Pick
2022 Warriors Pick
Boston gets its guy in Thompson, but I suspect the Warriors would immediately start shopping the No. 1 pick this year to maybe move down in the draft while accumulating additional assets along the way. Would anyone be shocked if Golden State, should this deal ever came to pass (which I don’t think either team would go for by the way), used the top pick this year to get two or three future picks down the road? Remember, this powerhouse wasn't built by off selecting players at the top of the draft board. Curry, if you recall, was the seventh overall pick in 2009 (and third point guard taken), Thompson was the 11th overall pick in 2011, and Green didn’t get selected until the second round, 35th overall, in 2012.
OPTION 2: Boston gets Klay, GST picks in '20, '21 (top 14 protected) - GST gets '17 1st overall, Smart, Zeller, Mickey— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) June 7, 2017
Would you do this?