Signs, clues point to Thompson staying with Warriors

Signs, clues point to Thompson staying with Warriors
July 1, 2014, 2:30 pm
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If the Warriors were considering moving Thompson – their only backcourt defender – why on earth would they bother looking at Thomas?
Monte Poole

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The deadlock between the Warriors and the Timberwolves is the result of a simple equation: Minny is not ready to part with Kevin Love unless Klay Thompson comes in return, and the Warriors will not comply.

Not now, not anytime soon, probably not ever.

That much is becoming increasingly evident. Between the sporadic whispers and the incessant clues of those on the inside, there is a 99 percent likelihood that Warriors and Thompson will not break up anytime soon.

The most recent clue came Monday night, when the Warriors cast their eyes upon restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas, the little firebrand guard for the Kings.

[RELATED: Warriors free agent options: Backcourt]

Thomas is a tightly wound bundle of excitement, capable of igniting an offense in an instant. He's lion-hearted and hypercompetitive. He's also 5-foot-9 and offers little in the way of defensive resistance.

If the Warriors were considering moving Thompson – their only backcourt defender – why on earth would they bother looking at Thomas?

This only makes sense if Warriors CEO Joe Lacob and the members of his hoops cabinet perceive Thomas as a third guard – and even then there is a flaw. The Warriors' third guard, ideally, would be capable of playing alongside All-Star Stephen Curry or Thompson.

The only folks who want to see Curry and Thomas in the same backcourt are opposing guards looking to pump their numbers. Could any rule of defensive logic survive such a pairing?

Put another way, Thomas as the third guard is a lot more comparable to Nate Robinson than to Jarrett Jack.

Then there is the Warriors' interest in Pau Gasol, which by all accounts is very real. This makes a lot of sense if Love isn't coming. Though no one currently in the NBA is a fair comparison to K-Love, Gasol fills most of those blanks as well as anybody.

[RELATED: Report: Wolves waiting for teams to come calling about Love]

Among stretch fours in the NBA, only Love is at or near the top as a shooter and a rebounder and a passer. He shoots from deep like Channing Frye, passes as well as Boris Diaw and rebounds with anybody in the league, regardless of position.

Love's shooting zone extends beyond the arc, making him ideal for spacing the floor. Gasol has a nice face-up jumper, much like LaMarcus Aldridge, but you don't want him hoisting from 23 feet.

But Gasol, an unrestricted free agent, is an outstanding passer and an excellent rebounder – better at both than either Frye or Diaw.

Moreover, Gasol can play center, if needed, while being capable of playing far enough from the rim that starting center Andrew Bogut still has space on the inside.

[POOLE: Warriors free agent options: Frontcourt]

The interest in Thomas and Gasol suggests the Warriors are rolling with Thompson and moving on from Love.

Or, maybe, they don't expect the Timberwolves to back off their demand for Klay.

Or maybe the Warriors understand the wisdom in evaluating contingencies.