Warriors Trade Pitch Swaps Klay Thompson for $120 Million Scorer

Klay Thompson, Warriors

Getty Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors have a Klay Thompson problem on their hands, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

Thompson has struggled mightily this season, averaging just 13.8 points per contest on 33% shooting from the 3-point line through 12 games played, per Basketball Reference. Thompson is playing in the final season of a five-year, $190 million deal and is seeking a multiyear extension like those the franchise awarded Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green over the past couple of years. The maximum deal Thompson can sign with the Warriors is worth $220 million over four years, per the San Francisco Chronicle.

The two sides made little progress at the negotiating table over the summer, when Thompson officially became extension-eligible. That he is now shooting a career-worst from deep and producing the meekest points-per-game average since his rookie campaign in 2011-12 doesn’t bode well for Thompson’s future in the Bay Area, financial or otherwise.

Kendrick Perkins suggested on the Friday, November 17 edition of ESPN’s NBA Today that Golden State should deal Thompson to the highest bidder ahead of the February 8 trade deadline. Zach Lowe pointed out during the same show that doing so is easier said than done. However, Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat is the kind of player who could fit in a deal with Thompson based on salary and the needs of both franchises.

Warriors May Have to Package Asset to Trade Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson Andrew Wiggins GSW-SAC

GettyKlay Thompson (left) of the Golden State Warriors.

Thompson’s work in 2023 has unquestionably been impacted by an injury to Curry’s knee and the NBA’s recent suspension of Green. Still, Perkins made an impassioned argument Friday that it is time for the Warriors to move on.

“If Klay can’t get it going, that’s a problem,” Perkins said. “It’s actually time for Golden State to move on from Klay Thompson. I think this marriage has ran its course, and I think Klay needs a fresh start with a new organization.”

“If we’re gonna sit here and say, ‘Trade Klay Thompson,’ you do gotta tell me where and for what?” Lowe responded to Perkins. “He’s a $43 million expiring contract who … is not playing well. So what am I giving up and what am I getting back for Klay Thompson? It’s much harder to actually do it — forgetting the sentiment, forgetting the history, forgetting the statue — just mechanically doing it is difficult.”

Perkins mentioned the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks, both of whom Lowe dismissed out of hand as needing to give up better assets for Thompson than they could get back in return. Then Perkins mentioned the Heat, which earned a “not bad” from Lowe in response.

“There are some deals that make sense, and I’ll tell you where it really gets interesting,” Lowe said. “If you’re really desperate, if you’re the Warriors … and you’re willing to attach something to Klay Thompson — a pick, a young player — then you get yourself into some interesting conversations.”

Tyler Herro May Have Been on Trade Block All Summer

Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat.

GettyTyler Herro of the Miami Heat.

Much like Thompson, Herro is a dynamic offensive player who can fill it up from deep. The 23-year-old guard is averaging a career-high 22.9 points per contest through eight games played this season and is producing the most efficient shooting of his five-year NBA tenure (44.7% from the field and 41% from deep), per Basketball Reference.

However, the Heat have been more effective following Herro’s Grade 2 ankle sprain against the Memphis Grizzlies on November 8. The team won four consecutive games after Herro’s injury and is 4-1 with their leading scorer on the bench.

This isn’t the first time Miami has gotten better following an injury to Herro. He broke his hand in Game 1 of the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs in 2023. The Heat went on to upset the Milwaukee Bucks as a play-in No. 8 seed and carried that momentum all the way to the NBA Finals. Miami also made a run to the Eastern Conference Finals the year prior, despite Herro missing significant time due to injuries.

NBA insiders reported and/or speculated widely that Herro was on the table as a primary trade chip in the Heat’s attempts to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trailblazers, despite subsequent denials from the franchise.

Herro is playing on a four-year, $120 million deal, which makes him a sensible centerpiece in a deal for Thompson. Miami would need to include more salary to to make the financials work, particularly if the Warriors toss in an extra player to make the deal viable for the Heat.

Thompson may thrive alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in South Beach, while Herro could potentially provide an element of scoring to the Warriors’ rotation similar to that of Thompson earlier in his career.

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