Why blockbuster Chris Paul-for-Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson trade barely failed in 2011
The Splash Brothers could have been taken from us before they ever really had a chance to arrive. The Golden State Warriors nearly completed a trade with the then–New Orleans Hornets in 2011 that would have massively changed the outlook of both franchises, as a deal surrounding All-Star Chris Paul and then-young guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson was nixed.
Per a snippet in Ethan Strauss’ “The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty,” via NBC Sports’ ProBasketballTalk:
The Warriors attempted to trade Steph Curry and Klay Thompson for Chris Paul in 2011. It was far from the only time Curry was shopped, but in this instance, the deal was very close to completion. Myers made the offer and Hornets GM Dell Demps was receptive. The catch was Chris Paul, who wanted out of New Orleans but had no intention of playing for the woebegone Warriors. Paul told the Warriors they could do this trade, but he wouldn’t be staying when his contract was up at season’s end.
The Hornets weren’t the only organization to narrowly lose out on the deal of a lifetime. According to one GM, “The Warriors were blind lucky that they were unsuccessful in trading Steph and Klay together for the stars they offered them together for,” he said. “There were many, many people they tried to get and failed.”
Prior to the Los Angeles Lakers’ vetoed trade for Paul and eventual completed deal to the Clippers, the 10-time All-Star Paul could have landed in the Bay Area. However, it didn’t sound like one of the NBA’s elite floor generals desired staying in Golden State for much longer, so the trade fell through.
Paul wound up competing well with the “Lob City” era of the Clippers before going over to the Houston Rockets and now Oklahoma City Thunder. Meanwhile, if luck would have it, Curry and Thompson soared to the upper echelons of NBA greatness with three championships in five years.