NBA: The man who prevented the Kevin Love for Klay Thompson Trade
In the 2014 NBA offseason, the history of the league was almost irrevocably altered.
After the San Antonio Spurs had defeated the Miami Heat in five games in the NBA Finals — which effectively ended the “Big 3” era in Miami — the league was in a state of flux. LeBron James was a free agent, and the Golden State Warriors were, at this point, an afterthought in the grand scheme of the league.
Golden State was coming off a 51-31 season in which they were ousted in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs by the Lob City Los Angeles Clippers. By failing to move beyond the first round, Mark Jackson was let go as head coach, and the Warriors were looking to make major changes to the roster in order to take the next step.
Though Warriors General Bob Myers was “initially reluctant to include Thompson in a deal,” according to the story, the team “knew that they had to make a big move” in order to elevate their status. As such, the Love-for-Thompson swap was essentially completed.
However, there was one major roadblock to the deal getting done: none other than The Logo himself, the legendary Jerry West.
West, an advisor for the Warriors at the time, believed that Klay Thompson had the chance to become a special player in the NBA. Moreover, even though Kevin Love was coming off a season in which he averaged 26 points, 12 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, West foresaw the future of the league being in the backcourt.
With Jerry West not willing to part with Thompson, Golden State opted to retain him and the rest, as we all know, is NBA history.
LeBron James returned to Cleveland, Kevin Love was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins, and Klay Thompson remained on the Warriors — sparking the team with his Splash Brother Stephen Curry to one of the most dominant runs in NBA history.
Who knows how the history of the NBA would look had West not intervened in this scenario. Jerry West was one of the most important figures in NBA history during his playing days, and he continues to wield immense power in the sport more than 45 years after he retired.
By vetoing the Love-for-Thompson trade, he essentially created yet another dynasty…just this time from the front office rather than the hardwood.
The Logo is now making his mark as an executive board member for the Clippers — who are positioning themselves as the premier LA destination, with the Lakers in limbo at the moment after LeBron’s first season in the Purple and Gold.