Klay Thompson

Klay's dad, Mychal, explains how Jerry West ‘saved' Warriors dynasty

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

Speaking on the "Murph & Markus Show" on KNBR on Thursday, Mychal described how integral West was to keeping Klay in Golden State despite the Warriors considering trading him early in his NBA career.

“Basically he’s the man who saved the Warriors dynasty because if it wasn’t for Jerry West, Klay would not have been a Warrior,” Thompson said. “After a couple of years, he and Harrison Barnes would have been playing for Minnesota [Timberwolves].

As has been well-documented, the Warriors were 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 noted earlier this week, Golden State never came close to making that trade, as they never requested Love's medical records.

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

The elder Thompson was asked if the story about West threatening to leave the Warriors if they traded Klay was true, with Mychal explaining how West pushed back on the potential trade for Love.

“He was so opposed to that trade, even though at the time Kevin Love was an All-NBA player at the time averaging like 27 [points per game] and 14 [rebounds per game] for the Minnesota Timberwolves,” Mychal explained.

“He was a dominant frontcourt player and the Warriors thought that partnering him up with Steph [Curry] would take them to the next level. Who knows, maybe it would have, maybe they would have won a title together. But Jerry West saw the potential in the Splash Brothers, and he said ‘If you move one of those guys, I’m out of here too.’ ”

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

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

“I was here with Klay at a workout in LA and Jerry West and Joe Lacob were there evaluating Klay,” Mychal said. “I remember Jerry came up to me two or three minutes into the workout and says, ‘We’re going to draft him.’ He didn’t have to see any more. That’s how Jerry was, he could just look at you and tell right away ‘Yep, this kid’s got it.’ ”

After a legendary playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, West became one of the NBA's best talent evaluators. After taking over as general manager for the Lakers in 1982, West built the bulk of the “Showtime” dynasty that won five NBA titles during the decade. After struggling through the mid-90s, West rebuilt the franchise by signing free agent Shaquille O’Neal and drafting Kobe Bryant in 1996, leading to a dynastic run of three consecutive championships.

West helped mold Golden State into a contender after he joined the franchise in 2011, as he was instrumental in selecting the younger Thompson with the No. 11 overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft. The 2012 NBA Draft was another West masterclass, with Golden State selecting the likes of Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green.

With its core in place, the Warriors soared into the NBA stratosphere a few years later, winning the 2015 NBA Finals and beginning a run of five consecutive Finals appearances.

Who knows what would have become of the Warriors had West not stepped in to keep Klay in the Bay Area.

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