Between 1998 and 2012, the Warriors had no All-Stars.
Golden State sure tried to add one, though.
The Warriors made Kevin Garnett’s short list in 2007 and reportedly nearly traded for the Timberwolves star before the Celtics got him. Golden State general manager Bob Myers – dangling Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson – also pursued Chris Paul before the New Orleans Hornets traded him to the Clippers in 2011.
Ethan Strauss in “The Victory Machine:”
the Warriors attempted to trade Steph Curry and Klay Thompson for Chris Paul in 2011. It was far from the only time Curry was shopped, but in this instance, the deal was very close to completion. Myers made the offer and Hornets GM Dell Demps was receptive. The catch was Chris Paul, who wanted out of New Orleans but had no intention of playing for the woebegone Warriors. Paul told the Warriors they could do this trade, but he wouldn’t be staying when his contract was up at season’s end.
The Hornets weren’t the only organization to narrowly lose out on the deal of a lifetime. According to one GM, “The Warriors were blind lucky that they were unsuccessful in trading Steph and Klay together for the stars they offered them together for,” he said. “There were many, many people they tried to get and failed.”
Obviously, this worked out great for the Warriors. They built a dynasty around their elite backcourt. New Orleans is left with the tough end of the “what if?” Paul had success in L.A., but never won a title. As good as he was, Curry was better, and Thompson was also a star.
I wouldn’t ding the Warriors much for this near-miss, though they make it tempting by declaring themselves “light years ahead.” Golden State valued Curry and Thompson enough to draft and keep them. That counts most.
In 2011, Curry hadn’t separated himself from Monta Ellis as the guard the Warriors should build around. Just drafted, Thompson hadn’t even begun his rookie season. Paul was a young superstar, worth the hype. This wouldn’t have been an unreasonable trade at the time.
Paul scuttling the deal is the type of fortunate break every championship team needs.
Disclosure: I received a promotional copy of “The Victory Machine.”