Warriors

What if Warriors did Steph Curry, Klay Thompson-for-Chris Paul trade?

What if Warriors did Steph Curry, Klay Thompson-for-Chris Paul trade?

As The Athletic's Ethan Strauss reported in his new book, "The Victory Machine," the Warriors nearly traded Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for guard Chris Paul during the 2011 NBA offseason.

Obviously, the trade never went down, and based on what has occurred since, Golden State has to be quite glad it didn't.

But just for curiosity purposes, how might the Warriors' recent history be different in a hypothetical world where that trade had been accepted? Simply put, without the Splash Brothers, there's no Warriors dynasty.

Down the rabbit hole we go ...

Had the Warriors traded Curry and Thompson prior to the 2011-12 season, it's highly unlikely they would have proceeded to deal Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh to the Milwaukee Bucks for an injured Andrew Bogut in March 2012. According to Strauss, Paul had made it clear to the Warriors that he wouldn't re-sign with them following the 2011-12 season, so they would have been operating under that assumption, meaning keeping Ellis.

Had Paul and Ellis been paired together for all 66 games of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, they likely would have led Golden State to more than 23 victories. Had the Warriors won even one more game in 2011-12 than they actually did, they would have had to send their top-seven lottery-protected first-round draft pick to the Utah Jazz.

In reality, the Warriors finished with the same record as the Toronto Raptors, and ultimately required a winning coin flip to retain the first-round selection at No. 7 overall. That pick turned into Harrison Barnes.

But in this hypothetical scenario where the Warriors swap the Splash Brothers for Paul, they never get the chance to pick Barnes. In fact, they don't select again until drafting Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green at the No. 30 and No. 35 overall picks, respectively.

Without Barnes at No. 7, there's a good chance they don't have the luxury of selecting Green in the second round. So, the franchise-altering 2012 draft likely never would have come to pass.

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If we assume Paul stayed true to his word, that would have meant he departed in free agency during the 2012 offseason. So, you're looking at a core of Ellis, Udoh and not much else.

That team definitely doesn't qualify for the playoffs in 2012-13. That means no first-round upset of the Denver Nuggets. That also likely means no Andre Iguodala trade the following offseason.

Golden State gave up a lot to acquire Iguodala, including its first-round picks in the 2013 and 2014 NBA Drafts. So, the Warriors likely wouldn't have had Iguodala, but they would have had those picks -- both of which likely would have ended up very high in the lottery.

In the 2013 draft, Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter were selected with the No. 2 and No. 3 overall picks, respectively, while C.J. McCollum went 10th and Giannis Antetokounmpo 13th. Not even the Bucks saw what was coming with the Greek Freak, and based on the information on the time, it's unlikely the Warriors would have picked him even higher than that. So, just for the heck of it, let's say Golden State ends up with Porter.

Again, the roster still would be pretty barren, so it wouldn't have been shocking whatsoever to see the Warriors re-sign Ellis heading into the 2013-14 season. Guess what? Ellis, Porter and whatever else probably isn't making the playoffs, either. 

While that would have given Golden State another lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft -- Andrew Wiggins went No. 1 overall, while Joel Embiid and Bay Area native Aaron Gordon went third and fourth, respectively -- it also likely would have meant no Steve Kerr.

Kerr was pursued by the New York Knicks before agreeing to take over as the Warriors' coach in May 2014, and the offense that he installed allowed the team to reach heights like never before. Now, obviously, the Splash Brothers were essential to that. But in this hypothetical scenario, they're not on Golden State, and thus, the job isn't nearly as attractive for Kerr.

[RELATED: Why Ex-Warriors coach Jackson believes he will coach again]

Without Kerr, there is no 73-9 season.

Without the 73-9 season, there is no Kevin Durant.

No Durant, plus no Kerr, Iguodala, Green, Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Curry and Thompson means no back-to-back titles, and certainly, no dynasty.

Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make.

Nets GM Sean Marks denies wild Gregg Popovich 'Godfather offer' rumor

Nets GM Sean Marks denies wild Gregg Popovich 'Godfather offer' rumor

Could Kevin Durant and Gregg Popovich team up in Brooklyn?

As unlikely as the scenario is, there is a rumor floating around the NBA Twitterverse that the Nets are preparing to try to lure the legendary coach away from the San Antonio Spurs.

Stick with me here.

During a recent episode of the "Let's Get Technical" podcast, former NBA player Gerald Brown joined hosts Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells, and guest Amin Elhassan. Brown said this:

"There's a story going around that the owner of the Brooklyn Nets is looking to make a 'Godfather offer' to Gregg Popovich, and when I say the 'Godfather [offer], it's something he can't refuse," Brown said. "Hearing this news, and it's probably going to circulate more in the days to come, I'm not really buying it at all."

Brown didn't cite a source on this rumor. But back in March, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith did mention Popovich's name as one of three candidates for the Nets' job (H/T The Spun), along with former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Ty Lue and former Warriors coach Mark Jackson.

The Pop-to-Nets rumor had enough legs to make it all the way back to Brooklyn GM Sean Marks, who was asked during an interview on WFAN radio in New York about the idea of pursuing the longtime Spurs coach.

"Pop has a job," Marks told Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Friday. "So I will say that. And, obviously, we all know he’s an amazing, amazing coach, and to be quite frank, an even better leader. So I’ll let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs, and He owes it to them and they owe it to him. I’m sure he’s quite happy there."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

But would it make sense for the Warriors nemesis to leave San Antonio for Brooklyn?

The Nets need a permanent coach for the 2020-21 season. Brooklyn fired Kenny Atkinson in March, and interim coach Jacque Vaughn will guide the bare bones team through the NBA restart in Orlando, but he might not be the answer in the long run.

Durant and fellow NBA superstar Kyrie Irving are going to want a coach with experience and a proven plan. While Lue won an NBA title with the Cavs, and Jackson laid the foundation for the Warriors, they aren't the sexy picks.

Why would Popovich leave San Antonio, where he's coached for 24 seasons? The Spurs have been considered the gold standard for NBA teams for the last two decades, but they've fallen on hard times. Their streak of 22 straight NBA playoff appearances likely will come to an end this season, and they don't have a bonafide superstar to build around for the next few seasons.

So maybe it's time for Pop to chase a new challenge. Of course, he's 71 years old and has been coaching in the league since 1988, so maybe his next move is to hang up the clipboard.

But if Popovich wants one more chance to win a ring, bolting for Brooklyn might not be the worst idea, especially if the Nets are willing to make a "Godfather Offer" to him.

[RELATED: Durant all smiles on Dubs anniversary]

There would also be the strange twist of Durant teaming up with Warriors coach Steve Kerr's mentor.

If Pop really did make the move, the Warriors wouldn't have to deal with him in the Western Conference, but if they return to NBA title contention, they might be looking at Popovich, Durant and Irving across from them in the NBA Finals.

Now that's a juicy storyline. NBA Twitter might explode if that happened next summer.

Heat guard Tyler Herro studies Warriors' Klay Thompson to improve shot

Heat guard Tyler Herro studies Warriors' Klay Thompson to improve shot

Klay Thompson's shot is that of near perfection. Steph Curry might be regarded as the greatest shooter in NBA history, but his fellow Splash Brother's form is picturesque. 

Miami Heat rookie Tyler Herro is taking note, too. The shooting guard has taken advantage of his time away from the court before the NBA's restart by watching film on Thompson and other greats.

"Klay Thompson, Ray Allen, CJ McCollum, Steve Nash and Bradley Beal are the guys that’s I’ve watched, just picking different things from each player," Herro recently told reporters, via the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman. 

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Herro, 20, is averaging 12.9 points per game for the Heat while shooting an impressive 39.1 percent from 3-point range. As a rookie, Thompson shot 41.4 percent from deep and has a career 41.9 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. They don't make many like Klay. 

Miami's young sharpshooter is studying one specific part of Thompson's game, too.

"You know, Klay and Ray, they do the catch-and-shoot very well," Herro said. "So that's the thing that I pay attention to when I'm watching them. But every player that I watch, or the coaches have me watch, I can dissect something new or something different from their game to try to add it to mine."

[RELATED: Steph has funny prediction for Warriors-Cavs bubble rematch]

Herro and the Heat resume their season Aug. 1 against the Denver Nuggets in Orlando. In just his first season, he has helped the Heat become a contender as a feared outside shooter and will play a big role once the NBA returns. 

Rested, healthy and full of more knowledge from hours watching film, we'll soon be able to see what exactly Herro picked up from Thompson other great shooters.