Analyst Picks Warriors’ 5x All-Star as Surprise Trade Target for Sixers

Klay-Thompson-Sixers

Getty Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers in 2016.

Imagine for a moment, a sold out Wells Fargo Center fired up for next fall’s Philadelphia 76ers home-opener.

The starting lineups are being read and Philly’s group includes Tobias Harris, a re-signed Danny Green and MVP candidate Joel Embiid in the frontcourt. If Ben Simmons is indeed on his way out the door this summer, how about showcasing a Curry-Thompson backcourt, or the Eastern Conference version of the “Splash Brothers”?

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There’s no way future hall-of-famer Stephen Curry is leaving the Bay Area any time soon, but the Sixers already have one half of a different Curry-Thompson combo with younger brother Seth. If Philadelphia is going to say goodbye to Simmons and for some reason isn’t able to replace him with a superstar like Damian Lillard or the long sought-after Kyle Lowry to run the show, why not move Seth Curry to the point and throw up a Hail Mary and try for Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson?

It’s true, Dub Nation has been praying for Thompson to come back healthy for two seasons now, and most would consider it foolish to trade him away after waiting this long for Steph’s running mate to return, but anything is possible. In fact, Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes believes Thompson could be a “surprise trade target” for the 76ers this summer.


Pair of Sixers Guards on Radar of Clippers, Timberwolves?

Shake-Milton-Lonzo-Ball-Matisse-Thybulle

GettyPhiladelphia 76ers guards Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle defend New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball during a game in May.

Hughes isn’t naive in his listing of Thompson as a surprise trade target. He’s well-aware that the likelihood that the five-time All-Star and fan-favorite is even available is low.

If the Warriors traded Klay Thompson just when the five-time All-Star is finally ready to retake the floor following two years ruined by injuries, the damage to fan sentiment might be irreparable. He’s beloved like few Dubs in history, and his healthy return is a critical piece of Golden State’s hopes of getting back to contention.

That’s not the Philadelphia 76ers’ problem.

While Thompson may be a reach for Doc Rivers, Daryl Morey and company, they might have to keep on eye on other Western Conference foes poaching some of their youthful talent, like Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle, via trades. Hughes lists Milton as the surprising trade target for the Los Angeles Clippers, while writing about “Mathief” as somebody the Minnesota Timberwolves could be looking at.

Shake Milton ranked right between Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving in total drives last year, despite playing 300 fewer minutes than the former and 400 fewer than the latter. Milton is not in either of those guys’ league overall, but he’s got the specific skill L.A. should be seeking.

Ideally, the Clips would bring back free agent Reggie Jackson after the veteran guard proved to be one of their most valuable penetrators in the playoffs. But if he prices himself out of Los Angeles’ comfort zone, Milton is someone they could pursue as a replacement.

On Thybulle, Hughes wrote: Minnesota has the right idea in targeting a defensive difference-maker from Philly, but maybe it’s focused on the wrong one.

Matisse Thybulle is more of a pure disruptor than a lockdown individual stopper, but the Wolves should be in the market for help on D in any form. … Thybulle is a steal-hoarding, shot-swatting, pass-deflecting ball hawk to bust up opponents’ offensive sets. Even if he might not totally transform the Wolves’ defense, he can at least keep other teams from feeling so consistently comfortable.


Could the Sixers Actually Get Klay?

Klay-Vs-Sixers

GettyGolden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers in 2016.

While Hughes lists Thompson as the Sixers representative for a surprise trade target and makes some valid points, the chances that the three-time champion changes addresses this summer seems very low. If there were a time when Golden State would have considered moving one of their best players, that window is all but closed, with his hopeful return to the court next season.

His spot-up shooting, off-ball movement and quietly serviceable pick-and-roll ball-handling would fit cleanly into Philadelphia’s offense, providing more space for Joel Embiid to pulverize foes in the paint. The risk of Thompson never getting close to his past peak is real, but you’ve got to balance that against the fun of Philly getting to start a Curry-Thompson backcourt.

Those tend to work pretty well.

If the Sixers are unable to move Simmons, or end up deciding on continuing the relationship, that Philly version of a Curry-Thompson backcourt would likely never come to fruition. Even if Simmons leaves town, it’s still more likely that a guy not named Klay Thompson makes his way onto the Wells Fargo Center floor, but it’s fun to dream sometimes.

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