ESPN radio personality and very famous basketball father Mychal Thompson had some very interesting things to say during an appearance on the Mason and Ireland show in Los Angeles before the weekend. Thompson was involved in a conversation with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne in which he discussed Kawhi Leonard, or even his own son Klay, joining the Lakers.
“You are talking about guys for whom pecking order becomes really important,” Mychal said. “The perception of how people are going to look at you is important for these guys. If Klay came to L.A., which he should, then he knows he is going to slot in behind LeBron. But it is fine because he has done it before [for the Warriors], it is not a big deal.”
One name that’s flown under the radar to a large extent — despite a seamless fit and connections to the Lakers organization — is Klay Thompson, and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN says his name has come up with those she’s spoken to in an appearance on “ESPNLA Mornings with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis”: “In terms of who they target next year, it’s whoever wants to come. “My feeling about it, my sense from just talking to people in and around this (is that) one, it’s a little early, but I think they like Mychal’s boy. I think that would be the guy, in terms of skillset and how that would fit. Obviously Kawhi, he’s a great player as well, but we’ll see if he stays in Toronto now. But I think they like Klay (Thompson).”
Adrian Wojnarowski: "Klay Thompson has - I had him on the podcast at the All-Star weekend this past year - he kinda said the same thing, he's been very consistent: 'I wanna be here, I don't imagine playing anywhere else.' And I think that if the Warriors are in position to offer him the full max right out of the gate, and not have to try to finesse him to take a little less to fit everybody in, if he got offered the full max, I don't know that he'd look anywhere else. If he gets offered a little less [than the full max] then maybe he looks."
Klay Thompson’s dad assured me Friday night that NBA finances and salary caps be damned, Klay isn’t going anywhere. Klay Thompson has one more year on his Warriors’ contract, then he can become a free agent, unless the Warriors lock him up with a long-term deal.
“Oh yeah, you can mark it down,” Mychal Thompson said at a party to kick off the Thompson Family Foundation’s first charity golf tourney. “Klay’s going to retire in the Warriors’ uniform. He’s going to play at Chase Center (the Warriors’ new arena, opening in 2019), and he’s not going to be at Chase Center as a visiting player, he’s going to be a Warrior for the next seven or eight years.”
“He’s got such a good thing here,” Mychal Thompson said. “The Warriors have such a special thing here. For the next six or seven years they’re going to be championship material, they’re not going to break that up. The Bulls (with Michael Jordan) were broken up too prematurely. (Warriors owners) Joe Lacob and Peter Guber aren’t going to let that happen. Are you kidding? They can afford it. They’re the Warriors, this is the Bay Area, they got a beautiful arena, and money’s no object for this team.”
And after reflecting on winning his third NBA championship with the Warriors in the past four years, Thompson hardly sounded interested in a change of scenery when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. “I’ve said it many times before: I would like to be a Warrior for life,” Thompson told Bay Area News Group before hosting a party at Hotel Vitale as a prelude to his first annual Thompson Family Foundation Golf Tournament on Sunday at TPC Harding Park. “Contract negotiations are way down the line. But I think we all have the same interest. I would love to be here for the rest of my career.”
To ensure that, would Thompson entertain securing an extension with the Warriors before or during the 2019-20 season? Or would Thompson prefer to become a free agent in 2019, potentially to maximize his earnings? “It’s tough to say,” Thompson said. “I’d definitely be interested. But at the end of the day, I’m going to be a free agent in 2019. Number one on my list would obviously be to stay with the Warriors.”
Hence, Thompson sounded more excited about his upcoming party than anxious about his pending free agency. “That’s always going to be a talking point. NBA free agency is like a season in and of itself now, especially with the media coverage and the player movement,” Thompson said. “Fans get excited when they dream of their team acquiring the next super team.”
The twist: there is no law that Thompson and Green have to demand the max from the Warriors. Yes, each or both might try to wring every dollar possible, and they have earned the right to ask for it, but the environment seems to point to one or both signing less-than-max extensions before hitting free agency. “Look, we know the numbers,” Myers said. “I don’t think we’re running from those things. … (But) we’ve got a group of players and an ownership group that wants to keep it together. That’s very competitive. Both sides. You’ve heard Klay’s comments (saying he might take less than his max to stay with the Warriors). You’ve been around Draymond. He wants to keep winning. …
“We’ll keep talking about it (with Thompson). We talked about that last year (during preseason) in China, we’ll continue to talk about it. For those guys, it’s their choice. We’ll try to pay them what’s fair. And it takes two. I know and understand, they’ve gotta like the deal, too. … “I’ll tell you this, Klay’s not driven monetarily. I think he wants to be paid fairly. I think Draymond’s the same way. And obviously Kevin, he’s shown it, that he doesn’t have to have every last penny. … I feel like if we can create a place that gives them a chance to win a championship, get paid well, enjoy going to work every day — and people think an NBA player loves going to work every day. That’s not true; maybe it should be, but it isn’t. If we can create a place where players enjoy it, the hope is they want to continue to do that.”
Yeah, the next thing. You have Klay and Draymond down the road, and KD this summer. But do you feel like the argument -- the fact -- that this group has gone to four straight Finals is kind of a trump card over any possible object that anyone might have? Bob Myers: Winning is the only time you don’t have to answer questions. It’s the only time. Twenty-nine other GMs, you have to answer, ‘what if?’ ‘why didn’t you?’ Every coach, every player. You only get to have this emotion once, and it means you have to win. It doesn’t mean, though, that you have a perfect team or that you have a perfect life by any stretch. But for me, it means that you appreciate these guys, you try to keep it together, you thank the people -- for me, my family, my wife, the people that went on the journey with you. The sacrifice, the things that nobody knows about. That’s the part you try to keep your eye on. And as far as the group, you value the guys that helped you do it, the players, the coaching staff, people I work with in the front office. I don’t know. I think you treasure each moment with these people. Like I said, I mean, you’ve worked with a ton of people. They change. People come and go, for whatever reason -- some good, some bad. It doesn’t matter. It’s life.
Thompson’s father, former Lakers player Mychal Thompson, on 95.7 The Game, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area: “Klay definitely wants to play his whole career in Golden State and the Bay Area — there’s no question about that,” Mychal explained. “He loves it up there … loves the fans. “But let’s just say that negotiations will probably continue in the summer of ’19.”
That Thompson wants to stay with Golden State isn’t groundbreaking. He has said so numerous times, even noting he might take a discount. But an extension would mean a MASSIVE discount. His max on an extension will be $102,083,386 over five years (eligible starting July 1). If he lets his current contract expire then re-signs in 2019 free agency, his max projects to be about $188 million over five years.
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."
August 13, 2022 | 1:15 pm EDT Update
After speaking with children during the Jr. Celtics camp, Grant Williams was asked how he felt about the trade rumors involving Brown. Williams responded by talking about the business side of the NBA while also praising Brown’s mindset and value as a player.
“I feel like Jaylen Brown is mature in his mindset, and he knows that. I talk to him, texted him, reach out of as often as I can. It’s one of those things. It’s the league. It’s a business. It’s one of those things that you can’t be discouraged by because we love JB. It also shows how valuable he is.”
Filmmaker Antoine Fuqua’s connections to the Los Angeles Lakers are via his hometown of Pittsburgh. Norm Nixon played college basketball at Duquesne University before becoming a first-round pick of the Lakers in 1977, and Fuqua was a fan of his play at point guard. But doesn’t every fan have a story of loyalty to a favorite team? That doesn’t make Fuqua unique, but he was charged with directing a project on the Lakers and creating something unique, which isn’t easy given the proliferation of Laker-related content on and off the court just in 2022. “The goal was to really keep the focus on the family,” Fuqua said.
That meant a heavy emphasis on the late Dr. Jerry Buss and his children in “Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers,” a 10-part docuseries that premieres Monday on Hulu. Buss, who died in February 2013, earned the reputation as perhaps the best team owner in modern-day sports. Long before the likes of Mark Cuban were seen as blurring the line between ownership and players, Buss was befriending a young Magic Johnson, which did not go over well for some accustomed to a different player/team owner dynamic.
Jim Buss had his turn being in charge, and the Lakers struggled. Jeanie Buss, now team president and controlling owner, became the first woman in the NBA to be the owner of a championship team in 2020. Who is in charge, how they became in charge and the stories of the siblings trying to figure out where they fit in sports — or if they even wanted to be in sports — are layers to the story told. “Obviously, the family drama that happened in the process of success, that was important, as well,” Fuqua said. “But the most important thing to me was the family aspect of it. That’s the part I don’t believe I’ve ever seen from the mouths of the family.”
August 13, 2022 | 2:04 am EDT Update
ClutchPoints: “From what I’m told, the two former teammates are back on good terms now despite [James] Harden forcing his way out of Brooklyn.” @ramonashelburne on the Sixers’ reported interest in trading for Kevin Durant.
After speaking with children during the Jr. Celtics camp, Grant Williams was asked how he felt about the trade rumors involving Brown. Williams responded by talking about the business side of the NBA while also praising Brown’s mindset and value as a player. “I feel like JB is mature in his mindset, and he knows that. I talk to him, texted him, reach out of as often as I can. It’s one of those things. It’s the league. It’s a business. It’s one of those things that you can’t be discouraged by because we love JB. It also shows how valuable he is.”