Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are competing in “The Match”, a golf event on TNT on Thursday night against Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes. In the lead-up, Thompson was asked about being part of a Golden State Warriors team with great golfers like Curry and Andre Iguodala.
“At least we got Chris Paul now,” Thompson said. “I know Chris might be a double-digit handicap. When he joined our team, I told him, ‘Finally someone I can beat on the links.’ Andre and Steph are on a different level.”
That comment opened the door to a quick conversation about the Paul move. I asked Thompson and Curry about the blockbuster move this past week to trade Jordan Poole to the Wizards for Paul and about the new general manager, Mike Dunleavy Jr., who green-lit the move during his first official week on the job. Here is our quick discussion.
Klay, you opened the door to this. What do you think of the Chris Paul move? You mentioned him being your new teammate. What do you think of it?
Thompson: Any time you get to play with a player who is one of the best of your generation it’s an honor. It’s a little weird because we’ve had so many battles in the past with Chris, and he’s led so many teams that nearly knocked us off or did knock us off all the way back in 2014. I think he’s just going to add such a calming presence and leadership component that we need. I know Steph and him have a long history together being both from North Carolina. For me, it’s going to be a smooth transition playing with such a passer and playmaker, I’m just excited.
Curry: Same. The business is crazy. We all know that. If you asked us six months ago if this was something that could happen, the answer probably would’ve been no just based on where we were. Then you get to the summer and are trying to find ways to get better and put yourself in a position to chase another championship. Every team that CP has been on gets better. That’s the most consistent thing about him, and who he is and what he brings to the team. Everybody’s going to talk about the age. It’s on us to put that all together and figure out how all the pieces work.
You hate losing JP. I know it’s not all the way official yet. So I don’t want to talk too much before it is. But that’s the tough part of the business, seeing a young guy come into his own (and then get traded). It’s a great opportunity for him. It’s just you get to know someone like that, build a friendship, build a bond. It’s tough to see him go. But, you know, we’re trying to win next year and CP can help us do that.
You guys are working with a new GM for the first time in a long time. I’m curious about your early thoughts on working with Dunleavy Jr.
Thompson: Well, I love Mike Dunleavy. I grew up watching Mike play in Portland at Jesuit High School. For him to be a McDonald’s (All-American) and then go to Duke and then go to the league, was a huge deal for Oregon. We didn’t have a lot of guys doing that. Now to be working with him, it’s crazy. The world’s so small. Especially in the world of basketball. Now, he’s technically my boss after he was kind of a big brother growing up, going over to his house, having him throw us in the pool and that junk. Now working with him is crazy. I know Mike will do great things.
Steph, I’m not sure, you’re old. Did you play with him? Is that your era, bro?
Curry: The days were bad my rookie year but they weren’t that bad, back when he was here.
Played against him at least.
Curry: Did play against him. Two years, I think, before he quit. But it’s going to be fun. Transition is always hard. Change is hard. Especially in this league with so much at stake. But I’ve loved the conversations I’ve had with him so far, how committed and the conviction he’s had with the ideas. Now it’s about going and executing it. That will reveal itself over time in how we put it together for the big picture, chasing a championship now and trying to win now and the decisions that come down the road.
(Photo of Steph Curry and Chris Paul: Barry Gossage / NBAE via Getty Images)