Klay Thompson: Nothing to this point, privately or through his continuous public comments, would indicate he has a desire to leave the Warriors come July 2019. Plenty of things can change between now and then — playoff failure weeks before a big free agency can sour things — but for now, there's no cause for concern. And if Thompson gets moved any time before next February's trade deadline, an unlikely but not impossible development, you'd have to believe it'd be part of a major swing for a huge name, not the early stages of a teardown for prospects and picks.
Thompson likely being ineligible to sign a Designated Veteran extension this summer puts both him and the front office in a more complicated situation moving forward. While the new CBA fixed the extension system for rotation players and the elite, everyone in between faces limitations if they want to sign a new deal with a meaningfully higher starting salary. If Thompson fails to qualify this season, his highest starting salary on an extension is $22.8 million, about $10 million less than the Warriors or any other team can offer him as a free agent in 2019 even if he does not become eligible for a Designated Veteran contract.
Do you think that it's realistic for the Dubs to put Klay Thompson the trade block next year? Steve Kyler: 99.8% chance they would never consider it... If LeBron or another ube elite talent becomes possible - maybe, but I'd be beyond stunned. Ownership is ready for the tax bill to keep a dynasty together.
Thompson didn’t rule out anything, but it seems like he’d have an issue with New York winters. “I definitely want to play somewhere warm,” the Warriors guard said on a podcast with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “I’ve been playing a lot of golf — so whatever fits well. But it’s special to be with one franchise your whole career. Only so many guys have done it in professional sports. And it’d be weird leaving the Bay Area. I believe I’m going to be there for a very long time. I can say that truthfully. But a lot can happen the next two years. It’s going to be hard to leave California when it’s sunny like this.”
When a star player with L.A. roots hits the market, the Lakers will generally be first in line to sign him. And though it hasn’t happened over the past four offseasons, when the franchise has needed a savior more than ever, the outside expectation is that those players all want to sign with the Lakers. “Oh, there’s definitely some truth to it,” said Warriors star Klay Thompson, who went to high school at Santa Margarita and whose parents still live in Orange County, “especially growing up down here, and having his family down here. There’s got to be … some truth to it.”
Drew Shiller: Klay made it clear he wants to stay with Warriors his whole career. When asked by Woj about playing the “free-agent game,” Klay said: “I’m gonna get a lot of questions about it. It’s become pretty robotic with what I say. So I’m sorry. But it’s just the nature of the beast.”
Thompson was asked during a recent media session whether he wants to remain with the Warriors when his first unrestricted free agency rears around in 2019. His answer, according to The San Jose Mercury-News’ Mark Medina: “Absolutely,” he said. “Playing for one team your whole career is definitely special. Only so many guys have done it in professional sports, so it’ll be a goal of mine. Hopefully it all works out.” “It’s so far away. Anything I can do to stay with the Warriors is first and foremost. God willing, it happens. If not, I don’t even think about that.”
But Thompson — who just muttered “probably” and walked off when asked if he expected free agency questions this weekend — doesn't seem interested in stoking any flames that'll produce more attention for himself. “Reason why he's going to get those questions is because of his skill,” Durant said. “He knows how to handle himself. He knows who he is. He has his own identity. He'll field those questions perfectly and answer them the right way.”
“He’s certainly shown his worth here,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said, via Medina. “It’s pretty undeniable how important he is. There’s not a lot of guys that can do what he does and be as humble and selfless as he is.”
A large part of what fuels the chatter is the perception of obtainability. Until there's any kind of public clue that Thompson would even entertain the idea of moving elsewhere, it's hard for people to rationally speculate. “Klay's going to be a friend for life,” Durant said. “Don't matter who he play for or what decision he makes. Obviously, if a guy asks what I think about a situation, I'll give him what I experienced. But he's a guy who is going to make a decision on his own. He said he wants to be here, just gotta trust his word. Let him do his thing.”
The answer was as predictable as Klay Thompson draining an open shot. The question was whether he wants to stay with the Warriors when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2019. “Absolutely,” he said. “Playing for one team your whole career is definitely special. Only so many guys have done it in professional sports, so it’ll be a goal of mine. Hopefully it all works out.”
Klay Thompson declined to revisit that topic this week. But ever since being drafted by the Warriors in 2011, he has selflessly viewed things through blue-and-gold-colored glasses. “It’s so far away,” Thompson said of his pending free agency. “Anything I can do to stay with the Warriors is first and foremost. God willing, it happens. If not, I don’t even think about that.”
Anthony Slater: -Will Klay Thompson gun for the All-Star MVP in his hometown? "Got a lot of competition, a lot of LA guys." -Does he expect free agency questions down there? "Probably"
According to Klay’s father, Mychal, he doesn’t see his son leaving the Warriors for the Clippers or any other team — not even if the team recruiting Stephen Curry’s backcourt mate comes after him with the promise of turning over their franchise to him, and not even with one of Thompson’s biggest backers, Jerry West, working as an advisor for Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.
"He doesn’t need to be 'the guy,'" Mychal Thompson told SiriusXM NBA Radio’s "Above the Rim" on Tuesday. "He loves playing there. He loves playing with Steph and KD and the whole crew. He loves living in the Bay Area, it’s a special place, and they’re going to have a beautiful, new arena in a couple of years in San Francisco. So Klay is not looking to leave. That’s up to the Warriors."
As long as West remains in his post in LA, it’s very easy to see the Clippers recruiting Thompson in two summers. But for now, Klay is a long way from ditching a team that has the look of a dynasty. He knows other teams are interested in him," Mychal Thompson said. "(But) he would love to retire a Warrior, so I think he’s planning on staying. But it’s not up to him, as far as he’s concerned.
As the Los Angeles Lakers become more realistic about the franchise's chances of snaring superstars in the free agent class of 2018, the front office is increasingly looking through a longer lens in its team building process, league sources told ESPN. The Lakers aren't abandoning a summer pursuit of stars, but rather recalibrating on the possibility of a 2019 class that could include San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, Golden State's Klay Thompson and Minnesota's Jimmy Butler, league sources told ESPN.
If Klay Thompson were to take a discount that would make their decision making process far easier. Although we're still two years away, Thompson is already talking like he might be willing to take a discount for the Warriors. In a podcast with Marcus Thompson and Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, the Warriors shooting guard addressed his future.
Tim Kawakami: "Could you (take a discount?") Klay Thompson: "I probably could, yeah. That much? I don't know. I don't make as much as Kevin off the court. If it's a few million ... It's a blessing whatever contract I sign. I would definitely consider it cause I don't want to lose anybody."
Albert Nahmad: Paul George and Gordon Hayward weren’t the only ones who lost DVPE eligibility by not making All-NBA. Klay Thompson did too! Had Klay Thompson made All-NBA, he would have been eligible to sign a 5-year, $217M DVPE next summer, starting with the 2019-20 season. Klay Thompson can still qualify for his 5-year, $217M DVP deal, starting in 2019-20, if he makes All-NBA in either of the next two summers.
Albert Nahmad: Warriors have drafted 3 players – Curry, Thompson, Green – who’ve each made All-NBA, and could each qualify for super-max if make it again! NBA teams only allowed to have 2 of its drafted players on DVPs at any given time. If Curry gets one, leaves only one for Thompson or Green. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson now locked in fun battle for DVP candidacy in years ahead – only one can get it (if Steph Curry gets one)!
Klay Thompson on the possibility of him signing an extension two summers from now and perhaps playing his entire career for Golden State … “I try not to think that are ahead, but I'd love to be here for as long as I can. What we've built here is so special, and I love living in the Bay Area, so that would be a huge priority of mine … I just feel like if I play hard and work hard every day, I'll get rewarded no matter what I do, so I'm not going to get caught up with the numbers and how much money I could potentially make because it'll all come around. You've just got to stay humble and be appreciative of what I have. And if I keep working this hard, I'll be rewarded.
Sam Amick: BDA retains Klay's basketball business while Wasserman will try to take his off-court biz to a new level. Warriors deal is through 2018-19
Could he imagine himself wanting to go elsewhere and see what he could accomplish on his own? "Winning is so much fun, man," Thompson said. "It's one thing to put up numbers and be the top guy on a team and it's another thing to sacrifice and be on the best team in the NBA. I'll take the latter every time. We have a lot of guys in this locker room who could be franchise players for other teams. That doesn't matter. At the end of the day people are going to remember championships. That's what it's all about."
October 6, 2022 | 12:53 pm EDT Update
Miami has earned the benefit of the doubt. It will have a stout, switchable defense even with Tucker gone. (The Heat have interest in Jae Crowder too, sources say, but finding matching salary is tough until Dewayne Dedmon, Caleb Martin and Victor Oladipo become trade-eligible in the winter. Martin might start, and the Heat are optimistic Oladipo can play a huge role.)
The Bucks have internal interest in Crowder as that Tucker replacement after getting into the recent Jerami Grant and Bojan Bogdanovic discussions, sources say. They will search all season for one more piece.
If Wednesday’s postgame words were any indication, he’ll hope respect begets respect and not demand anything from the referees. “I appreciate the refs,” Maxey said. “They’re great. They’ve been doing a great job. They’ve been tasked with a very hard job. A lot of our guys probably are tough on them. So they’re doing a great job and I have nothing but respect for every single ref in our league. “I just go out there and try to play hard, go to the rim, and sometimes draw contact, get to the line and help us move the scoreboard.”