For much of the summer, rumors have swirled that Kevin Love could be traded to the Golden State Warriors. And for much of the summer, rumors have swirled that the Warriors wouldn't be willing to move Klay Thompson in the deal.
Now, another potential development has decreased the likelihood of Thompson being shipped to Minnesota in a package to land Love—his agent is trying to secure a max deal with the Warriors.
Sam Amick of USA Today has more:
Meanwhile, Thompson's agent, Bill Duffy, has been seeking a max deal in extension talks with the Warriors as well. And while Golden State would surely prefer that the stance eventually softens and leads to a more palatable deal, the fact that he is younger means a max for Thompson would start at $15.7 million and still allow for more flexibility in the Warriors future than a Love deal.
Per Amick's report, much of the Warriors' reluctance in moving Thompson is about their defensive balance. Thompson helps to cover for Steph Curry's deficiencies on the defensive end, and Love isn't considered by many to be much of a two-way player.
New coach Steve Kerr talked about that balance on Friday, per Amick's report:
Klay guarded Chris Paul the entire Clippers series. He has allowed Steph to conserve some energy at the defensive end, and to slide over to a shooter. The versatility that we have defensively between Klay and (new point guard) Shaun Livingston and (small forward) Andre (Iguodala), it's really important for us…We're excited about our roster.
Kerr's system might benefit with a stretch 4 as talented as Kevin Love, but it sounds—at least for the moment—as though Kerr is more interested in keeping the defensive setup in check. And it continues to sound as though the Warriors will never be inclined to move Thompson in any potential deal for Love.
On Saturday, Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press provided an update on those talks:
Just 24 years old, Thompson averaged 18.4 points, 2.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game last season. He shot 41.7 percent from beyond the arc, stretching opposing defenses. He and Curry have forged a strong, exciting partnership in the backcourt, giving opposing teams headaches as they try to deal with Golden State's perimeter threat.
With much of the roster still fairly young or in its prime, Golden State perhaps feels that it would be better suited keeping everyone together rather than breaking up the roster to go get Love. After taking the Los Angeles Clippers to seven games in their first-round series, the team appears close to making its breakthrough.
So for the time being, it seems the Warriors will be siding with Thompson rather than shipping him off for Love. Perhaps soon to follow will be a long-term contract extension. For a team so predicated on winning with its exciting offense, it might be defensive considerations that keep Thompson in the Bay Area for the foreseeable future.