It’s now less than a week until opening night, but NBA trade rumors continue to dominate the basketball landscape. The latest from the rumor mill indicates a possible deal between two of the top teams in the league involving two of the best players in the NBA. Chatt Sports Net has published a report that discusses a rumored trade between the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. The proposal is a one-for-one swap of stars: small forward Kawhi Leonard going to the Warriors in exchange for shooting guard Klay Thompson, who would join the Spurs.
This trade of NBA All-Stars does work under the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), but that appears to be the only thing legitimate about this eye-catching trade rumor. Most of the time, it is very difficult to determine where these NBA trade rumors start, but in this case, the genesis of this rumor seems clear — and interestingly, the source is a current NBA player.
According to Yahoo Sports, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jason Terry was recently a guest on a national radio show and made some biting comments that were directed toward each of the players mentioned in this NBA trade rumor.
“Let’s get James Harden, move him to the side, over here in the A-side. He’s an A-side performer, right? Let’s go to the B-side. The B-side performers in the NBA. That is Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson. Those two right there. ‘B-sides’ means a supporting cast role, but not really a bench player. The A-side is your superstar. It is your great player. It is your guy. That is LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, these guys. Chris Paul.”
Jason Terry went on to share more of his thoughts regarding Klay Thompson and his role with Golden State.
“He’s not leading s***,” Terry said of Klay Thompson. “If he doesn’t make shots, how effective is he? Go watch Klay Thompson vs. James Harden from last year and see what James did to him. Every time James got by him, you know who was there? Draymond Green or Andrew Bogut. Let’s see what happens this time around.”
Jason Terry probably won’t be getting a Christmas card from Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard this year, but in addition to ruffling the feathers of those two star performers, Terry may have inadvertently sparked an NBA trade rumor by citing Thompson and Leonard as prime examples of what he calls “B-side players.”
The truth is that San Antonio is not going to trade Kawhi Leonard, and Klay Thompson is secure in his position with Golden State for the time being. If the Warriors’ team chemistry isn’t good this season, Thompson might actually be shopped around the league for a potential trade by Golden State, but for now, he’s not going anywhere — the Warriors have created an exceptionally powerful roster, and they want to see how well their superstar-laden lineup meshes before considering any significant trades.
Kawhi Leonard was chosen with the 15th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers, but he was immediately dealt to San Antonio for combo guard George Hill. Leonard came into the NBA as a great athlete and a very good defensive player. However, over his five years in the league, Leonard has worked to become an offensive force as well.
Leonard has now risen to the level of NBA All-Star and is considered one of the top two-way players in the game today. He is coming off an excellent 2015-16 season in which he averaged 21.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Leonard posted impressive shooting numbers as well, hitting 50.6 percent of his shots from the field and 44.3 percent of his three-point attempts.
Klay Thompson was the No. 11 choice in the same 2011 NBA Draft that yielded Kawhi Leonard. Thompson has spent all five of his NBA season in Golden State, and he has become a key member of a team that has won one NBA Championship, and also set a record for most wins in an NBA regular season (73 victories in 2015-16). Thompson is regarded as one of the best pure shooters in professional basketball, as his stellar 42 percent career three-point accuracy would indicate.
Thompson has been an NBA All-Star for the past two seasons, and in 2015-16, he recorded per-game averages of 22.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Thompson makes up one-half of the “Splash Brothers” duo with Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, and one could argue that Thompson’s contributions may be a bit overshadowed by his backcourt mate, who just happens to be the reigning two-time NBA Most Valuable Player.
Current NBA trade rumors are circulating that Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson could be traded for one another. The proliferation of this hearsay seems to have come from Jason Terry’s belittling comments toward both Leonard and Thompson as being nothing more than supporting cast members on their respective teams. Not only does this creation of the rumor mill appear to have no basis in fact, but one has to seriously question Jason Terry’s definition of a B-side player — many teams in the NBA would love to have an “A-side player” as good as either Kawhi Leonard or Klay Thompson.