The Golden State Warriors may very well end the 2016-17 as NBA champs, but another championship is not their biggest concern, as it actually may hurt them in the long run. The Warriors have assembled, quite possibly the best-starting unit in the NBA but with winning comes issues, and this is what success has done to them.
In this coming July, the Warriors will have to sign their franchise and arguably the best player in the league, Stephen Curry. Currently, Curry is on the books for $11M but what will he demand once contracts talks start? Is it far-fetched to say $29-30M? Al Horford, Mike Conley, Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan are all in the $26M range and neither, except Westbrook is on his talent level, so how much is he worth and if he is in the $30M range with LeBron James, then a bigger issue is at hand.
His teammate Klay Thompson makes $17M, and will do so for the next two years and how can we forget Kevin Durant and his option of $27M and Draymond Green and his $16M. The Warriors will be forced to make a decision when it comes to money or winning. One of these high-priced players must be moved, and that player should be Thompson. Here’s why.
You know what you get with Curry, 30 points 7 assists and 5 rebounds per, plus top-level PGs are hard to find. Green is a walking double-double, and Durant is one of the best pure shooters the game has. Thompson is the enigma of the bunch. He will net you 22 points, four rebounds and four assists and a little tight defense but with Durant now there his game will suffer, despite what he believes. There is a solution to these issues.
Trade Thompson, before Warriors fans start to go crazy, let me explain how I came up with this decision.
Thompson is Ray Allen 2.0, a shooter that has the skills to get to the rim but works best from the perimeter. It’s clear he and Curry have chemistry, but Thompson will also make it hard for the Warriors to advance in player development and free agency due to his high contract. With Durant there you get more than a perimeter player, you get a rebounder and post player, the salary may be higher, but Durant is one of those once-in-a-lifetime-talents while Thompson’s abilities can be duplicated.
If the Warriors are going to keep their winning tradition going they should make a call to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins, or dial-up the front office of the Milwaukee Bucks for Kris Middleton and a pick or the best one of them all, call up the 76ers for a Thompson and Jahlil Okafor deal. On the outside looking in the trades may not make sense but the Warriors are about to unload a boat load of cash for three players that basically can do the same thing.
The Warriors are in need of a perimeter and low post defender. If they can somehow manage to flip a Thompson trade for the right price and pieces, their run of 60+ wins will not end anytime soon. The idea seems out there, and it’s a risk but when those dollar signs and winning starts to add up there will be trouble on the horizon.
The good and bad part are that Thompson is only 26 years old, meaning he may have two more max deals coming his way, same with Green, Durant, and Curry. The Warriors have a tough decision here, and they must do what’s best for the organization to continue their current success.
Remember, the more you win, the more important those players are to you and the more money their agent will push for. Get rid of Thompson while they can before it becomes too late and you may be forced to part with Curry or Green. And that is something the Warriors cannot afford.