The Golden State Warriors are undoubtedly pleased with how their season has turned out. But let’s not forget just how different it could have been.
If you can remember back to when Kevin Love was still a member of the Timberwolves, there were two notable “offers” on the table. One was a package from the Cavs, highlighted by the No. 1 pick, Andrew Wiggins. The other was a package from the Warriors, headlined by up-and-coming Klay Thompson.
We know which way it turned out, and it certainly favored Golden State.
The reason Love is currently in Cleveland and not Oakland? Sports Illustrated is reporting it could be because Warriors’ Executive Board Member (and the only man to win NBA Finals MVP on the losing team), Jerry West, threatened to resign if the team opted to move Thompson for Love.
It’s 2015, and The Logo is still drastically affecting the NBA Finals.
Think about it. If Love goes out west, are the Warriors still even playing for the championship? Maybe. However, this season with both playing for legit contenders, Klay developed into an All-Star starter in a much more competitive Western Conference, while Love regressed to an above average role player. Love failed to be named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team, even over replacements like Kyle Korver.
I’ve already written about why the Cavs clearly lost the Love trade, but to piggyback on that, imagine if the Warriors had ignored West’s threat and Minnesota chose the Thompson package.
There are no Splash Brothers. The Warriors have a logjam at PF with Love and Draymond Green. If Steve Kerr plays Love at C, then their top-ranked defense is sacrificed. With Iguodala now the starting SG, the bench becomes thinner all season (and moving Iggy into the starting lineup in the Finals is no longer a game changing move). Oh, and the Cavaliers have the services of Andrew Wiggins – something they/LeBron could dearly use right about now.
Klay hasn’t been at his best in this series, but if you replace him with Kevin Love, and give LeBron a talent like Wiggins by his side, we would be talking about Cleveland as the favorites.
Not only was passing on the Love sweepstakes a huge victory for the Warriors, but they’re now also directly benefiting from his eventual landing spot. Crazy how trades like this play out down the road sometimes — sooner rather than later in this case.
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