One Trade to improve the Warriors this off-season?
Acquiring Kevin Love. The Warriors would like to do this without Klay Thompson because he is their best asset the team would consider trading but I sincerely doubt the Wolves ship away their franchise player this summer without Klay being a part of the deal. Assuming Klay gets included eventually, I would like to see Zach LaVine come to the Bay Area in the deal as well. He has the athleticism to guard both guard positions but is far enough away from being a major contributor that Minnesota would consider adding him.
While it would be great for the Warriors if they could give up less than this, a trade of Klay Thompson, David Lee, and either Harrison Barnes or the 2015 #1 for Kevin Love, Zach LaVine, and either Kevin Martin or JJ Barea would be a huge win.
If it follows that general form, the Warriors should also approach teams with larger, shorter contracts for flawed players about trading them Kevin Martin, including Oklahoma City (Kendrick Perkins) and Brooklyn (Marcus Thornton).
Kevin Love. It’s a no brainer. When was the last time a top 10 player wanted to come to Golden State? Not only a top 10 player but one who is 26 years old and who’s game meshes perfectly with Stephen Curry.
He is worth trading Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee and a draft pick, it’s not really debatable. He ranks 6th in WAR (wins above replacement) and combine with Curry (4th), the Warriors would be one of two teams with two top 10 WAR players.
You can find replacement level wing players who can play defense and hit open shots. Perhaps not at the rate Klay Thompson can, but with the added offense Kevin Love is bringing you won’t have as many shots for the SG anyway.
We’ve been teased about a potential Kevin Love trade for over a month now and it makes too much sense for it to not happen. I like Klay Thompson and what he gives the Warriors but I don’t think he’s good enough to be holding up a deal for Love. Klay is going to get a massive contract extension this off-season which should give the Warriors concern as it would not be wise to lock-up Klay and miss out on Love. Klay Thompson is going to fulfill an American Dream of getting overpaid and the Warriors should let Minnesota be the team that makes it happen.
Who should the Warriors acquire with the TPE?
I’ll separate this by position. Remember that a trade exception can only be used on a signed player, though it could be a sign and trade of a free agent if his current team agrees too. I think of the trade exception and the Mid-Level Exception as different ways to get some of the same players though players already under contract can only come via the trade exception.
If the Warriors want to use all or part of it on a guard, my dream target would be Isaiah Thomas in a sign and trade. He may be underrated and underpaid plus the Warriors have players the Kings may like due to Vivek’s ties to the organization. Other options include Shaun Livingston (sign and trade so the Nets pick up a trade exception) or Austin Rivers if the Pelicans are giving him away.
For bigs, they should inquire about Bismack Biyombo since Charlotte is hoarding tall guys, try to get Ed Davis on a reasonable deal via sign and trade or MLE, and/or use part of it on Ekpe Udoh via sign and trade if the trade exception would go to waste otherwise.
Jeremy Lin. This move would be risky because it would give Houston additional cap space to pursue Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love. Assuming the Warriors waited till after completing a move for Kevin Love, it’d be a risk worth taking. James and Anthony are always going to be long shots to go to Houston.
Lin would give the Warriors the back up PG and 6th man they lacked last season. Lin’s contract is steap, but it’d only be a 1 year cap hit, and then the Warriors could negotiate him down to something more manageable.
More than anything Lin represents the type of back up PG the Warriors should pursue, an attacking guard who can get to the rim and finish. Lin finished at 63.6% the last 2 seasons around the rim. Lin also took over 30% of his shots around the rim, something no current Warriors’ guard can claim.
Warriors desperately need to add athleticism in the front-court this off-season as its been a glaring weakness for a few seasons now. I’d advocate the Warriors acquiring Thaddeus Young of the 76ers. Young is an athletic forward who can get up and down the floor as well as guard multiple positions. He would give the Warriors another threat to score especially in transition and around the hoop.
Another name to look out for is Iman Shumpert. Shumpert would give the Warriors an athletic wing off the bench which they severely lacked last season. He has the ability to defend and run the offense for stretches which would allow him to play alongside either Steph or Klay during the game.
Who should the Warriors acquire with the MLE?
If the trade exception does not go to a backup Point Guard, that would be my primary focus with the MLE. Shaun Livingston, Patty Mills, Mo Williams, and Jordan Farmar would all make sense for some portion of the exception.
I actually like two different swingmen that have not been linked to the Warriors should Klay Thompson end up included in a Kevin Love trade: Nick Young (on a short contract) or Ray Allen. Should the team still need a big man, I would look at Channing Frye, former Warrior Ekpe Udoh, Jermaine O’Neal (if he wants to return for more than the minimum), and DeJuan Blair for part of the exception.
If the Warriors get Kevin Love, they should pursue CJ Miles with the MLE. CJ Miles is not particularly flashy, but he’s a capable ‘3 and d’ player. Miles shot 38.8% on 3 pointers last 2 seasons, while taking an extremely high volume (8.3 per 36 minutes). Miles also had a higher Defensive Real Plus-Minus than Klay Thompson (D Rpm). He is not Klay Thompson but he can replace enough aspects of Thompson’s game so that the Warriors do not lose too much spacing or defense.
If the Warriors are unable to make the Kevin Love trade, they should use the MLE on Channing Frye. Frye is one of the leagues best stretch 4s who torments defenses by killing their pick and roll coverages:
As previously discussed on WarriorsWorld, the impact a stretch 4 can have on Stephen Curry and the entire Warriors offense. Frye is one of the best stretch 4s and would be a good addition to the Warriors rotations.
The Warriors front office has mentioned the need to acquire more shooters this off-season thus I bring up the name Jodie Meeks. Meeks thrived in Los Angeles under Mike D’Antoni in a system where he got to play open and fluidly on offense. With the Warriors placing an emphasis on ball movement and a more fluid offense it would behoove them to bring on an additional shooter like Meeks. Meeks stretches the floor as soon as he enters the game and has the ability to electrify the crowd with his shooting ability.