Better believe the Warriors want to make noise next year. They do in general, but even more so now. All the criticism they have taken for firing Mark Jackson has increased the incentive.

But there are two ways to get there. Supplement the core they have already or upgrade the core. That decision is no longer just a theoretical one, as the Warriors are at that very fork in the road. Trade for Kevin Love and upgrade the core, disrupting what they already have. Or pass on the upgrade in favor of what they have and plug in the holes.

The ideal would be to upgrade the core without disrupting it. Even if it is a huge financial commitment, the Warriors would prefer to keep Klay Thompson and decide what to do about the money later.

But as Minnesota demands Thompson, the Warriors are faced with which direction to take to get to their eventual destination.

"That's the challenge," general manager Bob Myers said Friday in a gaggle with reporters. "That's the question we ask ourselves every day. When you evaluate our roster, everybody's got an opinion. I think the best way to build an organization is through organic growth and continuity.

"I have a strong belief, as does our organization and ownership, that the more familiar you are with each other as teammates, the more chance you have (for) the sum of the parts (to be) better than each individual. We believe in that. And that would lead you to think that growing organically is the best way to do it. But that doesn't preclude the organization, myself, from exploring anything. You have to. It's your job."


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That sounds like a keep-Klay answer. Of course, within the discourse of trade season, Myers really can't say much else. He certainly can't talk about how great a fit Love would be.

"But the daily work that we do each day," Myers continued, "is trying to answer that specific question: How do you improve the team in all areas? ... How do you find better talent anywhere? It's a constant evolution."

So now the Warriors wrestle. They buy time and let things play out. Maybe another option opens up. But in the meantime, they are weighing which of the two paths to take. Both have risk and reward.

Let's look today at what the Warriors get if they get Love.

  • The addition of Love, joining Stephen Curry, would give the Warriors two of the top 20 players in the NBA without question. Some would argue two of the top 15 or top 10.

  • Love gives the Warriors a formidable second scorer. Last season, coming off an injury plagued 2012-13 campaign, Love averaged a career-best 26.1 points, which was fourth-most in the NBA. He had a 10.6 offensive win shares rating (fourth best in the league). The Timberwolves scored 119.6 points every 100 possessions Love was on the floor (eighth best in the league).

    After watching teams key on Curry, daring David Lee or Thompson or Andre Iguodala to beat them, it was clear the Warriors needed another beast. Love is that guy. He could carry the offense night after night if he has to.

  • Love adds an element the Warriors need: a stretch-four.

    With the disappearance of Lee's midrange, the Warriors were left with two players -- Lee and Andrew Bogut -- who existed in the paint. That's anti-productive if they aren't dominating the paint, which they weren't offensively.

    Love has increased his 3-point volume over the years. Last season, he took a career high 505, making 37.6 percent. By comparison, Thompson (known as a great shooter) took 535 and made 41.7 percent.

    Love forces his man to guard him out at the 3-point line, which opens the paint. (Imagine if Warriors has Curry, Thompson AND Love).

    To get this effect, most teams have to play a third guard. Love helps the Warriors do it without losing his rebounding and the threat of his inside scoring. And put a smaller man on him, Love can punish him inside.

  • The Warriors pick-and-roll, which is a strength of Curry, becomes so much more dynamic with Curry and Love.

  • What's more important, Love, who will be 26 when the season starts, maxes out Curry's best years. Curry hasn't even reached his prime -- age wise for sure. Love is someone who could peak when Curry peaks. As it is now, the Warriors have surrounded Curry with players who are winding down or behind Curry on the growth curve. Thompson could catch up, and Harrison Barnes could too, though he'd have a ways to go. But when Curry peaks, you want players who are peaking with him, at least for a couple seasons.

  • Love has his issues defensively, but that wouldn't be new to the Warriors. However, he instantly improves their rebounding -- especially defensively.

    Love has averaged 12 rebounds or more in each of his last four seasons (he played just 18 games in 2012-13). Last season, he grabbed 29.5 percent of the defensive rebounds when he was on the court. The only two players with a higher percentage were Bogut (29.7) and DeMarcus Cousins (30.5).

    So with Love, the Warriors would have two of the league's best defensive rebounders in their starting lineup.

  • Love averaged a career-high 4.4 assists last season. That would've ranked second on the Warriors, slightly ahead of Iguodala.

    Love is great at passing out of the post. But perhaps the best part of his passing game, at least from the Warriors perspective, is his outlet passing.

    Love is a master at it.

    Under the basket off the inbounds. Getting the ball off the glass and letting it rip. Inbounding from the sidelines on out of bounds plays. He's got it all. That would be one of those understated elements that proves to be huge because the Warriors are addicted to walking the ball off the court.

    Love could almost single-handedly force the transition game.

    But can he stay healthy? Will chemistry take a hit? Is Love just a numbers guy on a bad team? Is he worth what you'd be losing in Thompson?

    To be continued ...