Jerry West ‘saved’ Warriors dynasty by keeping Klay, according to Mikal Thompson – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

In the wake of Jerry West’s death on Wednesday, Mikal Thompson explained the huge influence the Hall of Famer had on the Warriors organization and his son Klay Thompson.

talking on “Murph and Marcus Show” On Thursday’s KNBR show, Michel described how integral West was in keeping Klay in Golden State despite the Warriors considering trading him early in his NBA career.

“He’s basically the guy who saved the Warriors dynasty because if it wasn’t for Jerry West, Clay wouldn’t have been a Warrior,” Thompson said. “A few years later, he and Harrison Barnes would be playing at Minnesota [Timberwolves].

As has been well documented, the Warriors have been rumored to have explored the possibility of trading Thompson to the Timberwolves for All-Star forward Kevin Love.

But as former Warriors president and general manager Bob Myers pointed out earlier this week, Golden State never came close to making that trade, as they never requested Love’s medical records.

West was part of Golden State’s executive team, joining the franchise in 2011 and staying through 2017, helping the Warriors build the core of a championship dynasty.

The elder Thompson was asked if the story about West threatening to leave the Warriors if they traded Klay was true, as Michel explained how West backed away from a potential trade for Love.

“He was very opposed to the trade, even though Kevin Love at the time was an NBA player and his average age at the time was 27 years old. [points per game] And 14 [rebounds per game] Minnesota Timberwolves, Michel explained.

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“He was a dominant player in the front court and the Warriors thought he would share it with Steph [Curry] It will take them to the next level. Who knows, maybe it was, maybe they would have won the title together. But Jerry West saw the potential in the Splash Brothers, and said, “If you move one of these guys, I’ll be out of here, too.” “

West’s hunch proved correct when the younger Thompson formed one of the greatest backcourt duos in NBA history with Curry, as the prolific shooting of the Splash Brothers changed the face of the league and helped Golden State achieve dynasty status.

Mychal talked about West’s famous pre-draft workout with his son, with the elder Thompson describing how quickly the then-Warriors executive made his decision.

“I was here with Klay at a practice in Los Angeles, and Jerry West and Joe Lacob were there evaluating Klay,” Michel said. “I remember Jerry came up to me two or three minutes into practice and said, ‘We’re going to draft him.’ And he didn’t have to see any further. That’s how Jerry was, he could just look at you and immediately say, ‘Yes, this kid’s got it.’”

After a legendary playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, West became one of the best talent evaluators in the NBA. After taking over as general manager of the Lakers in 1982, West built the bulk of the “Showtime” franchise that won five NBA titles during the decade. After struggling through the mid-1990s, West rebuilt the franchise by signing free agent Shaquille O’Neal and drafting Kobe Bryant in 1996, leading to a string of three straight championships.

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West helped turn Golden State into a contender after joining the franchise in 2011, where he was instrumental in selecting the younger Thompson with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The 2012 NBA Draft was another masterclass in West’s, Golden State selected the likes of Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, and Draymond Green.

With their core in place, the Warriors ascended to the NBA stratosphere a few years later, winning the 2015 NBA Finals and beginning a streak of five straight Finals appearances.

Who knows what would have happened to the Warriors if the West hadn’t stepped in to keep Clay in the Bay Area.

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