With the news of the Golden State Warriors star shooting guard Klay Thompson tearing his Achilles this past Thursday, merely minutes before the 2020 NBA Draft was set to begin, all of the Warriors championship hopes went out the window according to Fox Sports Analyst and NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.
On a recent episode of Fox Sport’s morning debate show Undisputed, featuring Sharpe and co-host Skip Bayless, Sharpe, pre-injury confirmation, discussed what Thompson being out means to the Warriors this season and what exactly the team will miss about him.
“The days of 67-15, the days of 73-9 Golden State Warriors, that’s over. That’s not happening again. The days of them just running wild in the west that’s over. Even with a healthy Klay, they were never going to be that again. Now obviously, you lose a guy that’s the ultimate 3 and D guy. He can go get you 20+, he can go get you 60. But he can D up. He would always take the toughest defensive assignment, that’s why I always thought he was the best two-way player Skip. What he was doing, he was getting Kawhi, KD, he would get LeBron on a nightly basis, and hey Klay we still need you to get up 22 [points a game]. And he was doing it.”
What the Warriors Will Miss
Thompson has been named to the All-NBA team twice, been an All-Star five times, and was on the All-Defensive team during his 2018-2019 season. The same season in which he tore his ACL in his other knee during the NBA Finals against the eventual champion Toronto Raptors. Sharpe furthered his points and spoke on where they may rank within the Western Conference overall.
“This will be tough. Andrew Wiggins is a nice piece but he ain’t Klay Thompson. Steph is coming back Steph is going to be healthy, Draymond [Green} can have his bounce-back season but he’s that piece. He can lock down a guy but can also get you 25, and if you’re not careful, he might get you 37 in a quarter. Or he might get you 60 on 20+ dribbles. That’s how good he is.”
“He just missed the whole season rehabbing an ACL and here we go again. This would be heartbreaking to the Warriors Skip. But even with a healthy Klay I didn’t think they would be a top 3 seed. I don’t see how they would move past the Lakers, Clippers, the Nuggets are going to be in the mix again. I thought they were going to be battling somewhere from 3-5, maybe 4-6? But that’s the best they can do.”
Trading for Thompson’s Replacement
Last night the Warriors completed a trade for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kelly Oubre Jr. who had just been dealt to Oklahoma City through their trade sending Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns.
As a part of the deal, the Warriors are sending a 2021 protected first-round pick back to the Thunder. The Warriors are able to absorb Oubre’s contract due to their Traded Player Exception of $17.2 million from their Andre Iguoloda trade to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2019.
The trade for Oubre is significant in a number of ways. The first being they have a wing player who can be plugged into the starting lineup to help fill some of the gaps that Thompson’s injury brings. Second, the trade does not include their coveted 2021 pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves which many believe will be a high pick that the Warriors can use to continue to build into their future. Having cornerstone pieces such as newly drafted James Wiseman and last season’s trade addition Andrew Wiggins plus this potentially high 2021 draft pick can help the Warriors transition into their future while possibly extending their championship window.
Finally, the trade jacks up the Warriors tax bill. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, adding Oubre Jr. will cost the team significantly on the financial end.
Golden State tax bill is currently $66M
The addition of Kelly Oubre would see it increase to $134M
$14.4M of Oubre + $68M in taxes= $82.4M
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 19, 2020
Having a tax bill of $134 million dollars isn’t something to overlook. It means Warriors owner Joe Lacob is committed to helping this team assemble the pieces to remain as good as they can for as long as they can. The Warriors organization will certainly need it as we may never see them the same again once Thompson returns for the 2021-2022 season.