Remember when the Golden State Warriors added Kevin Durant to their roster in 2017? With KD onboard and their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Warriors became almost invincible, coming agonizingly close to a three-peat. But did you know Jerry West was one of the masterminds behind it? Well, he did. And did you also know that without him, this core that has become the face of the Warriors wouldn’t have been what it is today?

After years and years of his dedication to the NBA, Jerry West became a pioneer. The 86-year-old passed away on June 12, and in the wake of this news, stories of him are resurfacing. One is about him threatening to quit his role as an advisor to the Warriors, all for a grander scheme of things. His argument? The Warriors should keep Klay Thompson close to the Bay Area.

Paying tribute to the legend on The Draymond Green Show from Thursday, the Warriors power forward recalled the 2014 ultimatum. “[West] famously said he would quit his job as a consultant for the Warriors if they traded Klay for Kevin Love.” Green couldn’t help but laugh while saying this and added, “I can definitely believe that cause Logo is intense, but I must say I don’t remember that being said.” But it was.


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The year was 2014, and Klay Thompson was coming off his third season. That season was his best in the league until that point – he averaged 18.4 points and 41.7% from the three-point range – and his defensive skills came to the forefront, too. However, that was when Kevin Love’s relationship with the Minnesota Timberwolves was at its worst. With teams like the Cavaliers, Celtics, and Nuggets as likely options, none were as serious as the Warriors. But Jerry West and then-newly-appointed head coach, Steve Kerr, were against the idea.

Before they vetoed the potential trade, though, Kevin Love and the Warriors came very close to an agreement. But from a mile away, West dreamt of the Warriors dynasty if they kept Klay Thompson. He knew that Thompson, along with Steph Curry, would win the world through their game plays and camaraderie. More importantly, he knew the Dubs were a defense-reliant team, and Love wasn’t particularly known for his defensive skills. But most importantly, Jerry West believed Thompson was “the perfect player” for Curry.

As reported by NBC, West said in 2020, “I’m a big fan of Klay Thompson. I think there were certain people who were of a different opinion because Kevin Love was an attractive player to have because of his ability to spread the court, his rebounding, and his passing. But to me, the perfect player for Steph was Klay. He never seeks the spotlight. He just plays the game.” Calling him one of the most underrated players in the NBA back then, West’s claims turned out to be true. Thompson, in fact, was the perfect player to complement Curry’s game alongside Draymond Green.

West orchestrated the core of the Dub Nation, which went on to win four championships in a decade, the first of which came right after the Warriors decided to retain Klay Thompson in 2015. That said, you can’t help but believe that there was a certain boldness to West, that no matter what he said, everyone seemed to agree. With Thompson, too, he manifested something. And his gallantry was appreciated, even though people took their time contemplating what he was saying. They eventually gave in, understanding the rebel in a tailored suit was saying the right thing.

USA Today via Reuters

Jerry West’s front office quirks were almost always brilliant. In the 1980s, he orchestrated the ‘Showtime’ Lakers. Later, he contributed to the Shaq-Kobe dynasty. Notably, it was Jerry West who lured the Big Diesel to LA and also drafted Kobe Bryant with the 13th pick. That was followed by his success with the Warriors from 2011 to 2017. He won a total of nine NBA titles, only of them as a player.

That’s the indelible and bright legacy Jerry West leaves behind. He won in every form possible and was an amazing ambassador for the NBA and basketball. The game will feel incomplete without the legend, but every look at the NBA logo will bring back his serene smile.

The Warriors might lose Klay Thompson in the offseason


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West’s stern threat was there to halt a Klay Thompson trade in 2014. Fast forward a decade. Today, the 34-year-old is an unrestricted free agent. His 5-year $190 million deal expired at the end of this season. Since then, Thompson has expressed his wishes to stay with the organization, a sentiment his teammates reciprocated, including both Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

But even when the business month of the NBA has arrived, the negotiations have moved nowhere. The Athletic’s Anthony Slater first reported that the Warriors haven’t been “knocking on his doors” but will re-sign him at the right price. Klay, on the other hand, seems to be entertaining the prospect of testing the free agency waters.

Multiple organizations have shown interest in signing the Warriors legend, the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers being the early front runners. As a spot-up shooter, Thompson played in 77 games this season and averaged 17.9 points. His jumper still looks just as good, and its efficiency remained 38.7% from the three-point range. Now in the twilight of his career, Thompson wants to win. He can also contribute as a floor spacer and a reliable defensive component to a team. Do you think the Warriors’ core will disband before the start of next season? Let us know in the comments!


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If you want to know what Bronny James’ career trajectory looks like, watch Leonard Armato explain the same in an exclusive conversation with EssesntiallySports.