Warriors

Klay Thompson or Kyrie Irving for All-NBA? Stephen A. Smith makes his pick

Klay Thompson or Kyrie Irving for All-NBA? Stephen A. Smith makes his pick

Klay Thompson was understandably upset when he initially learned he wasn't voted to any of the three All-NBA teams.

The Warriors shooting guard lost out on $30 million, as he's now not eligible to receive a super-max extension from Golden State. What truly irked him, though, is the fact that he doesn't believe there are six better guards than him in the NBA. 

"Do I think there's that many guards better than me in the league? No," Thompson said Thursday to reporters. "That's the reason why we are still playing, so I don't even want to get into it."

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith is in agreement with Klay. If given a vote, Smith would have placed Thompson ahead of Thunder guard Russell Westbrook on the third team. The TV personality went even further than that on Friday. 

"I'd have put him on the second team before I put Kyrie Irving there," he said on the Stephen A. Smith Show. "I'm really getting sick and tired of how Klay Thompson is not appreciated." 

Thompson received three All-NBA Second Team votes and 18 for the third team. He averaged 21.5 points per game while often guarding the opposing team's top scorer. 

"Have you ever seen this man Klay Thompson shoot the basketball?" Smith said. "Do you not recognize that he's one of the top shooters in the history of basketball?" 

[RELATED: Why Klay All-NBA snub is fair, even though it seems unfair]

All-NBA team or no All-NBA team, Klay had the perfect rebuttal to the news. "I'd rather win a championship than be All-NBA."

Among the All-NBA guards, only Irving and Warriors teammate Steph Curry can say they have a title next to their name.

Lakers' Anthony Davis trade starts arms race to take Warriors' crown

lebronadhugusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Lakers' Anthony Davis trade starts arms race to take Warriors' crown

The Warriors have gotten used to being the 'hunted' over the last half-decade.

Over the span, the rest of the NBA has been in an arms race to catch them, to no avail. With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, Golden State achieved the greatest five-year run in NBA history. 

Now - after the 2019 NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors and injuries to Durant and Thompson - the rest of the league is primed to permanently end the Warriors’ dynasty. 

The latest example comes out of Los Angeles, where the Lakers - who will open their preseason against the Warriors on Oct. 5 in the first game in San Francisco's Chase Center – reportedly have traded for superstar Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, shipping out Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday's draft. More intriguing, the team could have between $27 and $32 million in cap space combined with a free agency pool that includes Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker

Since 2014, the Warriors have grown accustomed to arms races against them. Most notably the Houston Rockets - admittedly obsessed with the Warriors - who traded for Chris Paul in 2017 to achieve common footing. More recently - with James out of the Eastern Conference - Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri traded for Kawhi Leonard, a move that ultimately dethroned the Warriors two days ago. 

However, the Lakers' move comes at a unique time of peril in Golden State. Entering free agency, their two top targets - Durant and Thompson - will enter 2019-20 season expected to sit out most, if not all, of the season with major rehabilitation timetables. With both players expected to command maximum salary slots, the Warriors will enter next season - if both decide to re-sign - with two top players on the bench and little cap space to get better. 

It's appropriate that the Lakers are the first team this summer to make a move toward championship consideration. For the last half-century, the franchise was everything the Warriors dynasty currently is. A healthy, star-driven franchise that's had the likes of George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant donning its colors, helping the franchise win 15 titles. 

However, since 2013, the franchise hasn't reached the postseason, building a reputation for more off-court drama than on-court wins. Two months ago, Johnson - the team's Vice President of Basketball Operations - abruptly stepped down before the team's final regular season game, citing trust issues with general manager Rob Pelinka. 

Now - with the addition of Davis - the Lakers could be back to contending for titles. With its cap-space, they can bring at least one more near max player on the roster. 

[RELATED: Vegas makes Lakers favorite to win title]

As for the Warriors, more questions linger. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney will be free agents, and the team will have to decide whether to extend a qualifying offer to second-year big man Jordan Bell. Worse, of the players with All-Star experience, only Curry and Green will be expected full participants when training camp opens in September. 

Following Thursday's elimination, Green said it wouldn't be smart to count out the Warriors, citing their championship pedigree. Time will tell whether his words will ring true, but as the Lakers proved Saturday afternoon, the rest of the league is coming for their crown out West.

NBA odds: Lakers’ Anthony Davis trade makes them title favorites in Vegas

anthonydavislebronap.jpg
AP

NBA odds: Lakers’ Anthony Davis trade makes them title favorites in Vegas

Things in the NBA change quickly.

For five years, the Warriors had a vice grip on the Larry O'Brien Trophy. But that's no longer the case, based on the events of the last week.

Kevin Durant is out for the 2019-20 season with a ruptured right Achilles. Klay Thompson will miss a majority of the season with a torn left ACL. The Toronto Raptors now are NBA champions.

And Anthony Davis reportedly is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers in a blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Despite the fact that the Lakers didn't make the playoffs this past season, Vegas now is giving Los Angeles the best odds to win the 2019-20 NBA title.

SportsBookUSA has the Lakers as 3/1 favorites to win next year's title. The Warriors, with all the uncertainty surrounding them, have 12/1 odds to win their fourth title in six years.

[RELATED: Why Warriors won't walk away from KD, Klay]

If the Lakers are able to sign free-agent point guard Kemba Walker, reportedly their next “top target,” their odds of winning the title likely will grow.