It’s the question in front of the Golden State Warriors right now: Would you include Klay Thompson in a deal to get Kevin Love?
My answer is yes. I’m a Thompson fan but Love is a unique player who provides a skill set that takes the Warriors up to legitimate contender status in a way Thompson does not. Of course, the Warriors’ Jerry West and Steve Kerr — both jump shooting guards — disagree with me (and others) so the talks have stalled.
Include Andre Iguodala with West and Kerr in those that want to keep Thompson. Iguodala was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and talked about it, as transcribed by Monte Poole at CSNBayArea.com.
“I want to clear that up right now: We should not trade Klay Thompson,” Iguodala said on Sirius XM.
“I tell Klay every day. I text Klay and say, `Don’t worry, I’m your man. I’m going to make sure you get paid. I’m going to get you the max (maximum contract). You’ll be taken care of. Don’t stress.’”
Players stick by their teammates, particularly publicly. Derrick Rose will not publicly recruit even elite players because he doesn’t want to seem disloyal to the guys in the locker room now. It’s not a shock Iguodala sticks up for Thompson.
Right now Thompson is a top flight two guard and on his rookie contract, so he’s a steal. It’s not going to feel that way when he starts making $10 million plus on his next contract in a couple years, and once he gets a raise it’s going to lock in the Warriors roster in a lot of ways.
But the leap from “cusp of a contender” to “actual threat to win it all” is a harder one than it can appear, and sometimes it requires painful sacrifices and hard decisions. Maybe sticking with Thompson works for the Warriors, but if it doesn’t this could be a moment of regret as they watch other teams keep winning big in the West while they look on from the second round.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.