Kevin Love in action against Golden State's Draymond Green.

How the Cleveland Cavaliers trade for Kevin Love made the Golden State Warriors better

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The Golden State Warriors are a glorious basketball machine, able to cut through any team at will and simply frightening when they're on form.

Golden State broke the record for the best start to a season in NBA history, going 16-0, and did it without their Head Coach as Steve Kerr rested up after surgery on his back. Luke Walton took over in his first ever coaching gig and broke records while leaving the Warriors in position to break the Chicago Bulls' mark for best ever season at 72-10.

Kerr is back at the helm now and his side are actually ahead of that Bulls team at this point in the season. However, things could have been very, very different for Kerr and the Golden State Warriors.


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Dawn of a new Era

It's the Summer of 2014 and the Warriors have just finished in the sixth seed in the Western Conference off the back of a 51-31 record, eleven games behind the Spurs. Golden State fall to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs and Mark Jackson's head ends up on the proverbial stick as he loses his job for another underperforming finish.

After the team gave up several players and first round picks to add Andre Iguodala, the Warriors were expecting to be contenders and Jackson failed to deliver. In came Steve Kerr, who had been working as an analyst on TV and had no head coaching experience.

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The Warriors boasted a potential Top-5 backcourt duo in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the big potential of Harrison Barnes, a quality Sixth Man in Iguodala, and two above average big men in David Lee and Andrew Bogut. Oh, and there's some guy called Draymond Green who plays a lot but no one has a clue what his best position is.

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors

Trading for Love

Golden State were good, with clear potential, but they still needed something else. And then Kevin Love became available.

Love was a consensus top-10 player and entering the final year of his contract he made it very clear to the Minnesota Timberwolves that he would not be sticking around at the Western Conference strugglers.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets

Minnesota had to cash-in on their star forward and the Warriors were interested. They weren't the only team ready to bring in the All-Star, however. Also in the race for Love were the Cleveland Cavaliers, fresh off their high of bringing back LeBron James to his home-state team.

Golden State felt they needed another part to complete and it appeared that Love was the one to finally turn them into that force to be reckoned with in the NBA. Love was a clinical scorer who could be counted on for at least 20 points a game and could take over a game if Steph Curry was ever having an off-night or being shut down.

New Big Three

Everybody knew what Cleveland were doing. They wanted to make a big three out of LeBron, Love and Kyrie Irving and recreate what won James two Championships down in Miami.

And the Cavaliers were prepared to part way with the number one overall pick to do it. Cleveland had already selected Andrew Wiggins first overall after his exemplary rookie season in college ball with the Kansas Jayhawks. The Canadian youngster had bags of potential and was the consensus best player available.

Giving Up Klay

The Cavs had no qualms about letting Wiggins go and the Timberwolves wanted him. Golden State needed to put up something big to get Love, Klay Thompson.

The shooting guard hadn't made that step up to All-Star level and critics were wondering whether or not the former Washington State man was really all that, or if he was just coasting off Curry's success.

Thompson going to Minnesota was so close to happening, with Klay and David Lee going to the Timberwolves and Love and Kevin Martin heading to Golden State in return.

The Intervention

Then Jerry West stepped in. So did Steve Kerr. The only way that Thompson was leaving was over their fired bodies. West felt so strongly about Klay he threatened to resign from his role as an executive board member and potentially even sell his stake in the franchise.

Love went to Cleveland and 18 months later West and Kerr can feel pretty damn proud of their actions in pulling Thompson out of the deal.


The 2014/15 season was a huge success for Golden State as they claimed their first NBA Title in 40 years, beating Cleveland in the Finals. Curry kicked on to MVP level, Thompson showed everyone that he was an All-Star caliber player in his own right and Draymond Green emerged to become an All-Star himself, when he could so easily have been shoved further down the depth chart with Love's arrival.

In a turn of fate, the Cavaliers signing Kevin Love actually made the Golden State Warriors better.

While Golden State have surged from strength to strength, keeping both their salary cap low and defensive strength, Love has struggled at the Cavs, failing to fit in with team chemistry both on and off the court.

Whilst it's unfair to call Love a failure in Cleveland, the Warriors will be beaming that they didn't land the former T'Wolves star, as they chase even more NBA records and back-to-back Championships.

Eastern Conference
Minnesota Timberwolves
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Pacific Division
Golden State Warriors
Kevin Love
Klay Thompson

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