NBA trades are celebrated for their ability to shake up the NBA landscape. And rightly so—players and teams often need a change of scenery, after all.
Seldom, however, do we give enough credence to the chaos trades create around them, from the shipping out of long-established players to the uprooting of families and the strain placed on friendships.
You’d better believe Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors have given all this due thought in recent days as rumors of a trade for Minnesota Timberwolves’ All-Star Kevin Love continue to unfold apace.
Barnes and Thompson both spoke with Bay Area News Group’s Diamond Leung while in Turkey to help promote the league.
“It’s one of those things where if you feed into it, you can go crazy,” Barnes said. “For me, I just worry about the team that I’m on. I’ll worry about the Warriors. I’ll worry about getting better, and if I’m traded, then I’ll approach that obstacle when it comes.”
Thompson was a bit more blunt, saying, “Your job is never secure in this league unless your name is LeBron James or Steph Curry.
Nice dap, Klay. You just bought yourself some dribble-drive dishes next season.
Of the teams that have noted interest in Love, the Warriors may have the most to offer in terms of pure, game-ready talent, with Thompson, Barnes and David Lee—along with a small grip of draft picks—being the most obvious pieces to any potential package.
At the same time, if you’re the Warriors, you have to think twice about giving up that much depth, as spectacular as Love is.
Indeed, if this recent report from the San Jose Mercury News’ Marcus Thompson II is any indication, even the Warriors seem cautious about giving up the farm for single steer:
A team source said the Warriors don't want to give up Klay Thompson to land Love. Draymond Green doesn't make enough to impact the trade financially. That leaves Barnes, whom the Warriors stuck by during his sophomore slump.
Perhaps Barnes and Green, in tandem, would qualify as enough young talent to pair with Lee -- but that's giving up too much as Green has proved invaluable off the bench. Maybe the Warriors could get their hands on another first-round pick to bolster their offer.
If the Timberwolves don't want Lee, the options are all but dead. It would be tough for the Warriors to trade Lee's remaining contract -- two years, $30 million -- to get the pieces they'd need to make good with Minnesota.
It’s also worth considering what Minnesota’s motivation might be. To wit, if you’re the Wolves, wouldn’t you rather have a slew of draft picks than a flawed former All-Star and a pair of young assets with as-yet-unknown ceilings?
And don’t discount the possibility of this being purely a ploy to drive up Love’s price in an effort to make life a little more difficult for Love’s other suitors.
Here’s what we know: Thompson has already proven himself an ideal building block for what the Warriors have: namely, the best pure shooter in the game in Curry. And while Barnes’ second-year struggles caused many to sour on the small forward's potential, there’s plenty to love about the 22-year-old’s athleticism and overall upside.
Don’t expect the Dubs to bow out of the Love Sweepstakes any time soon. It just might mean guys like Thompson and Barnes checking their cell phones every two minutes, waiting for that dreaded call.