Warriors Trade Proposal Lands $158 Million Star as Klay Thompson Replacement

Warriors star Klay Thompson

Getty Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors walks off the court after losing to the Sacramento Kings in the Play-In Tournament.

This season showed the Golden State Warriors can no longer rely on Klay Thompson as their No. 2 behind Stephen Curry. With Thompson set to enter unrestricted free agency, the Warriors could pivot to another direction and acquire a younger player to replace him.

Sporting News’ Stephen Noh proposed a 2-for-1 trade plus picks with the New Orleans Pelicans, who are looking to shake things up as well.

Warriors would receive: Brandon Ingram

Pelicans would receive: Chris Paul, Moses Moody, 2025 first-round pick, 2028 first-round pick

The Warriors could pounce on the Pelicans’ desire to revamp their roster after New Orleans’ first-round exit in the Western Conference playoffs.

“I want to be really, really clear: This is not going to be a summer of complacency. It’s time to get better,” Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin said during his exit interview.

Marc Stein reported that the Pelicans could use Ingram as their trade chip.

“Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has all but promised that New Orleans will be active in the marketplace in the wake of a first-round sweep inflicted by the Thunder, and league sources say that Ingram’s exit is increasingly viewed by various league observers as an inevitability rather than possibility,” Stein wrote in his Substack newsletter on May 12.

For Noh, Ingram represents a potential Thompson replacement and a reliable 20-point scorer behind Curry.

“Steph Curry and company still might have one last run in them. They didn’t have a reliable second scorer on the roster, leading to a massively disappointing season. Ingram could give that to them and be a good replacement in case Klay Thompson departs in free agency,” Noh wrote.

Ingram is entering the final year of his $158 million, five-year deal. The Warriors would have to exercise their team options on Paul ($30 million) and Moody ($5.8 million) to match.

Need a Change of Scenery After Down Season?

Both Thompson and Ingram are coming off down seasons. But Ingram, who is still 26, has more upside than the 34-year-old Thompson.

Thompson’s roller-coaster season saw him come off the bench for the first time in 12 years. He finished the season with modest averages of 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists across 77 games, the most he’s played since returning from Achilles injury. His scoring dipped to its lowest since his second year in the NBA.

With the Warriors reluctant to pay him big money, Thompson is being linked to the Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic, two playoff teams from the Eastern Conference, who have cap space this offseason.

On the other hand, Ingram had his worst season since getting traded to the Pelicans from the Los Angeles Lakers. Yet Ingram’s worst season in five years — 20.8 points, 5.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds — still trumps Thompson’s production this season.

Brandon Ingram’s Confidence Dipped at Team USA

Interestingly, Ingram’s struggles started at Team USA under coach Steve Kerr, who benched him in favor of the shorter but stout rebounder Josh Hart of the New York Knicks.

Ingram’s confidence dipped and it cascaded to the NBA season. However, in retrospect, Ingram looked at it as motivation to get back to his All-Star form.

“From Team USA up to this season, is probably … the worst that I’ve been in a New Orleans Pelicans uniform, and I’m motivated by that,” Ingram said during his exit interview. “I can go back and I can blame coaches. I can blame everybody else but myself, but, you know, I’ve got to go look at myself in the mirror and tell myself what I really need to do, how can I help this team. How can I help the coaches and how do I get the fans in New Orleans to believe in us again, and you know, that’s my job. That’s my task.”

Despite Ingram’s down season, Noh believes the former All-Star wing is the Warriors’ best path forward to contend again.

“If Curry is still capable of playing like a top-five player, then this could be the move that gets them back in the winner’s circle,” Noh wrote.