The top-seeded Warriors could be in a position to deal, if…
Klay Thompson’s knee injury has kept him out of the lineup for two-plus seasons, and while there are rumblings that he could return soon, we’re taking a we’ll-believe-it-when-we-see-it approach.
Much like the Clippers without Leonard, the longer Golden State goes without their number two, the more likely a permanent future without him starts to look. Step into the pretend machine with me, and imagine another setback to Thompson’s recovery in the next month or so.
Batman has Robin. Sherlock Holmes had Watson. Lillard has McCollum and Steph Curry has Thompson. A swap of sidekicks could help both NBA teams; I’m not sure if Batman and Watson and Holmes and Robin would be as effective as the original pairs, but they would all be fun to watch.
Golden State shaves $50 million from next year’s $170 million in guaranteed salary and gets another all-star caliber backcourt partner for Curry. This move — again predicated on Thompson being set back further in his recovery — is necessary for Golden State to have any hope of keeping their core together long-term.
It’s a bit of a throw-in-the-towel for this year move for Portland though, bringing them a presumably injured Thompson to boost next year’s defense and energy along with the underused but highly regarded Kuminga and Moody.
Porter and his expiring deal are needed to make the cap work, but he’s been solid off the bench for Golden State this year and would have a chance to audition for a new deal with the Blazers. There may be a draft pick or two thrown in depending on the relative health of some of this deal’s primary pieces, but it offers some win-now boost for Golden State and some future promise for Portland.