Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson isn't much of a talker, especially not to the media. He's a nice guy who will give an interview if you ask him in person. But he's not volunteering to be anybody's spokesperson.

Which is why when I texted him to ask for an interview, and he immediately responded in the affirmative, I knew he was feeling good.

"I'm ecstatic."

Why? Because he fulfilled one of his goals of playing for Team USA. After winning gold with the under-19 squad at the 2009 FIBA World Championships, Thompson set out to play with the men's national team. And last night he learned he was one of the 12 players selected to represent their country in the FIBA World Championships in Spain, which start Aug. 30.

FILE - In this April 13, 2014, file photo, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love gets ready to play the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif.  A
FILE - In this April 13, 2014, file photo, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love gets ready to play the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif. A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors have restarted trade talks for All-Star forward Kevin Love. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater, File) ( Steve Yeater )

All-Star guards Damian Lillard and John Wall didn't make the team. But Thompson did. Along with his Warriors Splash Brother, Stephen Curry. That's a big deal.

"This is crazy," said Thompson, who was taking a break from packing and on his way to lunch in New York City. "In my mind, I was going to make it no matter what. For what I can bring -- the ability to spread the court and guard 1 through 4 in international basketball, and I've practiced on getting into the lane a lot -- I was expecting to make it. I thought our first game in Brazil, I was a little rusty. But the last couple games, I think I played really well."

There is another reason. Today, the Warriors' decision not to trade Thompson in pursuit of Kevin Love became official.


Advertisement

Love will be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers today. No, the Warriors didn't choose Thompson over Love. They chose Thompson, Curry and Lee over Love and the contract of Kevin Martin. They chose chemistry and well-roundedness over the potential that comes with Love's superstar talent.

"I'm happy. It makes me feel great," Thompson said. "The Warriors believe in me. That makes me want to work that much harder. They believe in me and Steph, they believe in the team we have. I believe in us, too. I think we have all the ingredients to win a championship."

A championship? With this roster?

"Absolutely," he said. "I think a lot of it hinges on our health. Our ability to improve our offense. Me and Curry have another year together. Another year with Andre Iguodala. Another year under the belt for Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green. We know what we're going to get from David Lee consistently. Andrew Bogut's coming in healthy. If Festus (Ezeli) comes back and plays like he did his rookie year, that's huge. We'd have another big body and we need that, especially in the West. It's going to be a grind."

Thompson said the rumors of being traded didn't bother him too much. But it was clear he was relieved. He said he knew the possibility was there and that Love was an enticing piece. Part of him even started mentally preparing for Minnesota. But he was in contact with new head coach Steve Kerr.

"He said he wanted to coach me. I took that as a good sign," Thompson said. "I've been in rumors before. It didn't really bother me that much. If it did go down, I would have been disappointed. It was more like a feeling of 'I hope they don't trade me.' But I wouldn't have been mad at them. I understand it's a business. We get paid to pack our bags and go do work."

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski has gotten to see firsthand a big reason Kerr and the Warriors don't want to lose Thompson. Coach K used Thompson to harass opposing point guards much the way Mark Jackson did as Warriors coach. And Thompson's teammates are finding him for open 3s on the other end. He's grown into a pivotal weapon for Team USA.

Of course, being a productive player for Team USA, being the primary reason the Warriors didn't acquire Love, Thompson will have a much higher profile entering this season.

"I always thought people already do know who I am," Thompson said with a laugh. "I want to be great. That comes with pressure. It comes with eyes on you. In year four, I'm looking to take a huge leap like I did last year."

Thompson plans to make his mark as one who gets it done on both ends.

"Absolutely. One of the best ever, Michael Jordan, was one of the greatest defenders ever," He said. "I'm not saying I am Michael Jordan. But if you want to be a championship player, you have to play both ends. We've got some great players in this league who are two-way players. Kobe Bryant. LeBron. Paul George. Kawhi Leonard. I'd love to be known as a guy who gets you 20 points and locks down the best offensive player."

Thompson said he isn't worried that playing for Team USA will leave him tired for the long season the Warriors are expecting. He's a heavy-minutes guy with a big task. Conventional wisdom says he will need rest to prepare for the grueling task of chasing point guards and being a key cog to the offense.

The way he sees it, this experience will help him.

"I'm 24. I'm young. I shouldn't be tired," Thompson said. "I'm not playing 40 minutes. I'm playing 15 minutes, 20 minutes. It's even better than working out at home. I would never get this competition working at home. And it's a different style of basketball so I'll be learning some things I can add to my game. I'll be in great shape when I come into camp and be ready to go.

"I played at 220 last year," he added. "That was too heavy. I cut down to 215. I can feel the difference already. I have more energy. I've got to be in optimal shape. I've got to be able to move really fluidly on both sides of the ball. It's a tall task. Man, I'm young. If I take care of my body and eat right, I'll be able to do it. I did it last year, so I'm sure I can do it this year."

Read Marcus Thompson II's blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/thompson. Contact him at mthomps2@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ThompsonScribe.