Back in 2015, the Celtics offered four first-round draft picks to the Hornets to move up from 16 to 9 in the draft so they could select Justice Winslow. The Hornets turned them down to choose Frank Kaminsky. We’re not sure what the protections on those picks were, but it’s possible they would result in no Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown in Boston. Often in the NBA, the best trades are the ones you don’t make.
The Warriors also have such a story from 2015. One of the crucial moments in building their dynasty was deciding if they would trade Klay Thompson for Kevin Love. As the story goes, Jerry West strongly advised against the trade and talked about leaving the team if they do. They decided to keep Klay and had one of the best backcourts in NBA history.
That wasn’t the only time the Warriors were ready to trade their backcourt - both of them. According to Ethan Sherwood Strauss’s new book “The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty,”, Golden State tried to trade Steph and Klay to New Orleans for Chris Paul.
... 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.”
Ethan Sherwood Strauss, “The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty”
Both ideas may seem absurd, but you have to look at them from the context of the time they were considered/attempted. Curry and Love in 2015 would’ve been a killer pick-and-roll combination. Granted, it wouldn’t have been these Warriors, but they still would’ve had a chance to be great.
Back in 2011, Curry had recurring ankle issues and Klay was just starting as a rookie with a good shot. Those Steph and Klay for a 20 and 10 Chris Paul wasn’t absurd, far from it. Half the league was trying to get him.
I guess light years ahead include a healthy dose of luck.