After defeating the Denver Nuggets and bowing out to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 postseason, the Golden State Warriors lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2014 playoffs. In response, they fired head coach Mark Jackson, hired Steve Kerr to replace him and nearly traded guard Klay Thompson to the Minnesota Timberwolves for power forward Kevin Love.
Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors believes the Warriors are “one significant upgrade away” from being a real title contender.
I think they’re one significant upgrade away, unless Harrison Barnes has a serious bounceback year after last season, which is entirely possible. I think as the David Lee contract gets closer to completion, they’ll have more flexibility to add that necessary piece, whether it’s through trading Lee or by simply letting it expire. But who knows how long Andrew Bogut holds up? There are a lot of question marks over the Warriors right now, but — reticence to include Klay Thompson in a Kevin Love deal aside — that front office is as aggressive as they come, so I doubt they’ll stand pat for long.
Myron is right about Lee – he’s scheduled to make just over $15 million for the 2014-2015 season and just under $15.5 million the following year before becoming a free agent in 2016. That might give the Warriors a chance to trade his large expiring contract before is runs out, perhaps getting a key piece in return.
Of course, the future of this specific Warriors’ team and the individual future of Thompson will now always be judged by Love’s success, especially if he starts winning rings with LeBron James in Cleveland.
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