Lowe: “The noise all year has been he’s gonna wait for that max offer from them. From what I’m told, that max offer hasn’t been communicated to him that it’s for sure coming. Right?” Woj: “Right. And you can offer your own free agent a deal at any point here. That 5-year, $190 million max offer — if it’s not there for Klay Thompson on Sunday at 6:01 p.m. Eastern, the Warriors can then expect him to go out and take a meeting, meetings. “But the one team that I think — my information is — he would be very open to going and sit down with is the Clippers. If they have a chance to be able to sell Kawhi Leonard on a partnership with Klay Thompson, that’s an appealing sell for any free agent.”
Sagar Trika: Woj: If there isn't a five-year max on Klay Thompson's table at 6:01PM EST on Sunday evening, they can expect him to take meetings. Names the Clippers as one team he would meet with.
If Green and Thompson both sign max deals in the next two summers, the Warriors will face a 2020-21 cap hit of about $110 million for Green, Thompson, and Curry alone. That’s not even including Durant, were he to stick around. The Warriors wouldn’t have anything more than draft picks and salary-cap exceptions to fill out the roster around their aging core. It’s why they’ve worked so hard to keep Durant; they’re going to face these challenges no matter what, the question is whether it happens with or without Durant, and how expensive it gets. League sources, to no surprise, expect the Warriors to offer full, five-year max contracts to both Klay and KD this summer. It would be a shocker if Thompson didn’t re-sign. As for KD, perhaps the fifth year could make him think twice about leaving considering how ruptured Achilles injuries have ruined careers before.
Lacob would have to pay a pretty penny to keep those four together. Since they were in the tax three of the past four seasons, the Warriors could have to pay the repeater tax over the next two seasons, which could induce a luxury tax bill of more than $150 million in each season—and that’s for a roster without Durant for at least a year, and little flexibility to add secondary pieces around the core. It’s unrealistic for the Warriors to keep all four players and build a deep roster that can effectively ease their load to keep them healthy deep into the postseason, which goes toward the idea that the one to go may have to be Draymond.
The moments left Mychal Thompson feeling sleepless. It did not tamper his optimism, though. His son, Klay, tore an ACL in his left knee and walked out of the arena on crutches. Then, the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, hardly the ending they envisioned in their final game at Oracle Arena after winning three NBA titles in the past four years. That only leads to two questions. First, how will this affect Thompson when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 30?
“You have to ask Joe Lacob that one,” Thompson said about the Warriors’ majority owner. “That’s up to the Warriors. But Klay will be back. It’s unfortunate, but it’s kind of a routine injury. Nobody wants it. Guys are able to come back fully recovered from this injury.”
Second, did this mark the end of the Warriors’ dynasty? Not only do the Warriors have questions about Thompson. Kevin Durant is recovering from a surgically repaired right Achilles tendon. The Warriors otherwise have limited purchasing power and a No. 28 pick to bolster their team. Nonetheless, Thompson said that “Klay and Kevin will both be back to wreak havoc among the league.” Thompson also added “the Warriors are far from done.” As for Durant’s free agency? “I always have faith he’ll stay. This is the second-best organization you can play for. Of course, you know what the best one is,” said Thompson who played for the Showtime Lakers and remains a radio analyst for the team’s flagship station. “Why leave a great situation like Golden State? These guys are still going to be championship contenders for years to come.”
Connor Letourneau: Just spoke with Klay Thompson's father, Mychal, who said there's "no question" Klay will re-sign with the Warriors. Golden State is expected to still offer him a full five-year maximum deal.
Thompson's brother, Mychel, drove him to an imaging center in Berkeley. His parents followed in a separate car. The Warriors were keeping it close deep into the fourth quarter. With just a few minutes remaining in the game, Thompson was wheeled into the MRI machine. The game ended while he was in there. "What happened?" Thompson asked as soon as he finished. "Did we win?" It wasn't until he learned that the Warriors had lost that he began to consider what this injury might mean to his career. "Do you think this could affect my free agency?" he asked.
Durant was on the line, FaceTiming him from New York, where he's recovering from surgery on his torn Achilles. "I heard them talking," said Klay's father, Mychal Thompson, said of the conversation. "But I don't think they'd want me to divulge it." Durant was probably the only person in the world who could relate to exactly what Thompson was feeling in that moment. His dad knew to give them space. "They were encouraging each other to come back strong," Mychal Thompson said. "They got unfinished business."
Ryan Glasspiegel: Windhorst's 'understanding' is that the Warriors still 'intend' to offer Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant five-year max deals, which would push payroll with luxury tax to about $350 million
The Golden State Warriors intend to offer five-year max contracts to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, according to Brian Windhorst on ESPN's First Take. "It is my understanding in talking to people with the Warriors organization is that their intention is to continue and offer Kevin Durant a full five-year max contract and to offer Klay a full five-year max contract," Windhorst said.
“I don’t know yet what we’re going to do [with Klay],” Lacob told Yahoo Sports. “I’ve said for a long time I want Klay to be a Warrior for life, and so this doesn’t change anything as far as I’m concerned.” Thompson’s first choice is to re-sign with the only NBA franchise he’s played for, but should any obstacles materialize, he will weigh other suitors, sources said.
The free-agent negotiating period begins June 30. “I’m not going to say anything because the free-agency period isn’t here yet,” Lacob told Yahoo Sports. “You know I have the utmost regard for Klay’s talent and for him as a person. I’m pretty sure we’ll talk this summer, and he’ll hopefully be a Warrior for life.”
Chris Ballard: Asked Lacob about Klay earlier tonight, just before tipoff. His response: “I’m not allowed to say what we’re going to do…I will just say, I love Klay Thompson. We love Klay Thompson. We find it very difficult to see Klay Thompson in any other uniform.”
FOX Sports Radio: "This isn't anywhere yet but #KlayThompson is locked in to appear in #SpaceJam2. He's from around here, his dad is a #Lakers announcer...I think there is a legit chance he winds up there." - @jasonrmcintyre #LakeShow
The Warriors likely will officially offer guard Klay Thompson a maximum free-agent contract at the first moment NBA rules allow it. If so, Thompson almost certainly will re-sign with the only franchise he’s ever known. Thompson has been a key part of Golden State’s three championships and their current run to the NBA finals, where the Warriors are tied 2-2 with the Raptors. That’s how it’s likely to play out for Thompson when free agency begins July 1. But if the Warriors don’t immediately offer Thompson a max contract of five years and about $190 million, I’m told he will listen to free-agent pitches from other teams. And if that happens, the Hawks are confident they’d get a chance to persuade Thompson to sign with them.
I heard Travis Schlenk planned to make a run at Thompson as a free agent soon after the Hawks hired Schlenk as GM in 2017. I figured it was just dot-connecting speculation: Schlenk was a Warriors front-office executive when the team drafted Thompson in 2011. But since then several people in the know have insisted that Schlenk is focused on trying to sign Thompson, and now I believe that’s his plan if the Warriors provide an opening.
Carlos Boozer: But to help in that regard, they can have a chance to make some real noise, especially depending on what happens with the Golden State Warriors. There’s all this news about KD (Kevin Durant) and who knows what happens with Boogie (DeMarcus Cousins). I’m hearing that Klay (Thompson) might want to go to the Lakers. I don't know why they would break up, because they got a rock star thing going on over there that reminds me of the Bulls with (Michael) Jordan and (Scottie) Pippen in the '90s of going to the Finals every year, but whatever happens, if that marriage gets divorced and some of those players leave, and if any of those free agents want to come to Utah and join with Donovan Mitchell and the rest of that crew, they could really make some noise. I like that foundation, I just thought they were a player away, like an All-Star player away from being a real contender.
No, this was about the principle. It was about respect. And it was about acknowledging and understanding his vital contributions — on offense and defense — to this living and breathing dynasty. “Everybody is saying it’s about money, but it’s not,” his father, Mychal Thompson, said in a phone interview late last week. “It’s about recognition for his two-way contribution. “Frankly, I thought that the media was more savvy about what it takes to be a champion. Not just focusing on one side of the court — you need both sides consistently to get to the level where the Warriors are at, why they’re such a great team. Put the focus on both sides.”
So losing a shot at $31 million more is never going to feel tremendous, but Thompson still will be doing just fine. “Yeah, it’s a lot of money,” Mychal Thompson said. “But when you are talking about the astronomical numbers that the best NBA players make, you can’t quibble over it because you’re still making generational-changing money. Too many people out there struggling in the world to make ends meet for anybody to be whining about not making $30 million more.”
In addition to the sting of the snub, Thompson will not be eligible this summer to sign a five-year supermax contract worth $221 million. He'll instead be eligible for a five-year max deal worth $191 million with the Warriors once he becomes a free agent on July 1. "I didn't? It already came out?" Thompson said after Thursday's practice, before being told that he just missed being selected for the third team. "I mean that's cool and all but like when you go to five straight Finals, I respect those guys but when you go to five straight it takes more than just a couple All-NBA guys. It's like an all-time team, but whatever, I'd rather win a championship than be third-team All-NBA, so it's all good."
Anthony Slater: Klay Thompson learns he didn’t make All-NBA (“Oh I didn’t?”) and is clearly a little ticked (it affects his next contract): “When you go to five straight Finals, it takes more than a couple All-NBA guys...Do I think there are that many guards better than me? No.” pic.twitter.com/bW5DiBavo1
Albert Nahmad: Players eligible for “super-max” this summer if earn All-NBA honors: - Kemba Walker: 5/$221M (starting 2019-20) - Klay Thompson: 5/$221M (starting 2019-20) - Bradley Beal: $4/191M (starting 2021-22) - Damian Lillard: 4/$191M (5/$247M if signed next summer) (starting 2021-22)
So I checked with owner Joe Lacob via text on Tuesday afternoon, pointing out that he’s been quite clear about paying what it takes to keep this team together and asking if anything has changed or if his stance is even stronger after the Warriors’ Western Conference triumph. “The season is still ongoing,” Lacob responded. “We are not finished. I have no new ideas or data for you. We love Klay and KD and intend to attempt to re-sign them. Period. I am confident about BOTH of them. “But it is their choice to do what is best for them. They have earned that right. Our goal is to keep our team together. We are pretty good.”
Logan Murdock: Steve Kerr was asked about the notion that Klay Thompson could be unhappy in Golden State: “We see lots of reports out there but we see Klay every day and he’s happy.”
Joe Lacob: My great hope is that Klay, as with Draymond and – frankly – KD; all of them who are guys that you’re referring to. …And frankly, I love DeMarcus Cousins too. I mean, he’s another guy who (he’d like to keep). (But) we can only do what we can do within the framework of the collective bargaining agreement. We really like our players – each and every one of them. Draymond has been with us since the beginning. There’s a certain place in my heart for him. Same with Klay. And all I was trying to say by that is that I really personally like them a lot for what they bring to the table. That’s a personal comment, and I really want to see them stay – to be Warriors for life and hopefully build statues for them.
Lacob happily made that declaration in the wake of Friday night's 118-113, series-clinching Game 6 victory over the Houston Rockets after watching the pair combine for 60 points and lead the Warriors to their fifth straight Western Conference finals appearance. "Obviously, my intention is to keep them as part of our organization forever," Lacob told ESPN. "That's our goal. We'll see what happens."
Thompson turned around after hitting the shot and pointed right at Lacob, who was sitting courtside and pointed back at Thompson. Many inside the Toyota Center and on social media believed that Thompson was sending his boss a clear message of "pay me my money," but Thompson brushed that idea aside after the game. "Nah," Thompson told ESPN. "It was just living in the moment. That's all it was."
Drew Shiller: Here’s the video of Klay Thompson pointing at Joe Lacob after he hit the massive 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 110-104 lead with 36.1 seconds remaining
Klay Thompson was always seen as a sure thing to stay, but there’s a very real temperature-taking process happening behind the scenes right now. And if feelings get hurt along the way, if Thompson decides that all those years of service weren’t respected by owner Joe Lacob in the kind of way that he believes he deserves, then the Warriors could be promoting Steph Curry as their Splash Single Child in the new building. Draymond Green is due for an extension this summer, and his decision to send that Klutch Sports flare up in the air back in February was as clear a warning as you’ll find that – with his possible free agency coming in 2020 – he’s coming for the best deal his market can bear too.`
As for Thompson, his emotional state will no longer be in question if the Warriors offer the full five-year, $189.7 million max contract that he so desires at the very start of free agency. Anything less, a source with knowledge of his situation says, and the Warriors run the risk of inspiring him to test other waters (speaking of symbolism and optics, by the way, Klay’s recent Southern California tale in the first round was too good to be true: He literally told a story about how testing LA waters was the key to his success while wearing shades).
Thompson has been open about the fact he wants to stay with the Warriors for years to come. However, league sources told ESPN's Zach Lowe earlier this season that Thompson has no plans to take a discount, despite the massive sneaker endorsement deal he signed with Anta. Thompson could sign a five-year, $188 million deal this summer -- and if he makes an All-NBA team, he'd be eligible for a supermax deal that would pay him $221 million.
Chatter surrounding the All-Star swingman's future has played out largely under the radar -- exactly the way he wants it. When asked recently why it has meant so much to produce and stay with the Warriors in the future, Thompson gave the type of simple and understated response that has defined his tenure in the Bay. "I think it's just the only thing I've known professionally," Thompson told ESPN. "I saw the dark days and now I've seen the glory days. And it's cool to see the process. You appreciate the work it takes to get there. It's simple. I just appreciate how long it took to get to the mountaintop, the work it did, and just seeing how -- empower people in the community and really build this fan base to something special."
So why aren't the Warriors sweating Thompson's future like they are with Durant? "The media, I think, give him a little bit of a break as far as over-speculating and throwing him into the fire because he hasn't really fueled it -- at all," said Warriors center Andrew Bogut, who has been Thompson's teammate for five seasons over his two stints with the team. "You've never heard him say anything bad about wanting to leave here or going to another team or being the No. 1 option. You've never even heard that off the record. Some players say the right thing publicly but have different feelings [in private]. He completely wants to be here and he gets it that this is a very rare situation."
While he didn't go into detail on Durant besides pointing out the obvious fact that the Warriors want to re-sign him, Wojnarowski did offer some interesting insight into a potential destination for Thompson. If the Warriors don't offer him the max, Thompson could look to join the Los Angeles Clippers. Via ESPN: "If they come with a five-year, $190 million max deal for Klay Thompson, that's done on July 1. He's going into the new building with Steph Curry. If they try to do anything less than that, you can expect Klay Thompson to be out in free agency. Watch not for the Lakers then, but the Clippers."
Just a few days after Mychal Thompson told 95.7 The Game that “everything will fall into place” regarding his son’s future should the Warriors secure a fourth title, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had dished a new report on Klay Thompson. Woj, the prememient scoop trafficker on planet basketball addressed Thompson’s free-agent future, which arrives this summer, in an appearance on “Get Up.”
"If they come with a five-year, $190 million max deal for Klay Thompson, that's done on July 1 — he's going into the new building with Steph Curry," Wojnarowski explained. "If they try to do anything less than that, you can expect Klay Thompson to be out in free agency. Watch not for the Lakers then, but the Clippers."
When Thompson was a younger player, he said, he concerned himself with awards. He wanted to be an All-Star (which has happened). He wanted to make one of the league’s All-Defensive teams (which has not). But he said he does not care anymore, not after winning three championships. “At this point, I’ve been to the mountaintop,” Thompson said. “I’ve felt the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and that’s all I care about at this point: winning.”
There has been no indication to date that the Mavericks will get a sniff from the Kevin Durant/Kawhi Leonard/Kyrie Irving tier of free agents. I likewise continue to believe that Golden State’s Klay Thompson is 100 percent staying put with the Warriors and will not consider external suitors.
Make no mistake, Mychal would love for Klay to come home to Southern California – someday after his playing career is over. “He’ll be happy here, he loves the good weather,” Mychal said. “I always tell him when he’s retired, he’ll have another 40 years to spend here. He’s in no rush to get back.”
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t get bugged around his neighborhood, where strangers approach him in the grocery store or at the coffee shop and ask if Klay is coming back to Los Angeles to team up with LeBron James and lead the franchise back into the postseason. “I can’t go anywhere,” Mychal said. “Ultimately it’s a compliment: Lakers fans want him to play here. But I don’t think that way. I think the Lakers are gonna be fine. I don’t see Klay coming out here as a savior.”
What do you think the Warriors plan is if/when Kevin Durant leaves? Marcus Thompson: To get the best perimeter capable player they can for the $7 million they would have. If there is a chance trading Draymond can get them something, I wouldn't be surprised if they did that. But they'd have to love it. Otherwise, it's re-sign Klay, extend Draymond and see who wants to run with those guys
The Lakers will now turn their attention to an offseason in which they are expected to revisit trade options for Davis, while also chasing top targets in free agency – as unlikely as it is that Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson will come, according to a league source who believes the Lakers will be second or third on those players’ lists. The fear that the Lakers could strike out with their top targets has already led to some message massaging. “You don’t need names, you need games,” a source close to James told The Athletic. The Lakers could build a team of complementary pieces better suited for James, like Boston’s Marcus Morris or Milwaukee’s Nikola Mirotic, and fare better than they did this season. But it would run counter to Johnson’s stated philosophy. After all, on a World Series broadcast last fall, Johnson declared, “I’m going to get another superstar next summer!”
Or it may end this summer, when Cousins, Durant and Thompson are all expected to be free agents (assuming Durant opts out of the $31.5 million last year on his contract). The players may agree to stay together or choose to seek out other challenges. The buzz from various executives, scouts and media members suggests that Durant is ready to move on. Thompson, if offered the max, will stay. If not, he too could exit. The Warriors may not be able to match market value for Cousins.
Chris Haynes: “With Klay Thompson, Golden State needs to have a max offer on the table right when midnight hits [on July 1, 2019]. If you want to wait until 12:01 to put down that max contract, you’re opening the door for the Lakers. Period. If they want to take care of business, [they’ll offer the max right away]. And I think they will, since they have that brand new Chase Center opening up and they want to have their core guys on the roster going into that arena.”
Mark Medina: Noted in story: Klay wants to return to Warriors regardless of whether KD stays or leaves. Klay looking for max for simple reasons.1. His obvious resume. 2. any money Warriors save would just reduce luxury taxes, not help them sign another player.
Have the recent reports that Klay may be sniffing around LA+AD situation changed the odds of him re-signing at all in your mind? Marcus Thompson: No because I think the Warriors will pay whatever price. His agents are, smartly, trying to get all the money they can from the Warriors — which is tough to do with Klay having said for years he isn't leaving. They have to make leaving an option for leverage. With that said, I don't think it is wrong. I don't think Klay would mind being a Laker and playing in Los Angeles if it came to that
How likely is this rumor of Klay Thompson following AD to the Lakers? Does that kill our title chances? Marcus Thompson: If the Warriors pay Klay, he stays. Not sure why he would take less money to go to the Lakers.
Adrian Wojnarowski: “The best-case scenario for the Lakers is they add Anthony Davis, and then Golden State doesn’t offer Klay Thompson a max contract. They try to get Klay to take a little less than the max and if that happens I’m told Klay’s attention will be on the Lakers if they have Anthony Davis. Now we’ll see what Golden State does there. They’ve got a lot of players to pay going forward. They want to re-sign Kevin Durant. They certainly want to re-sign Klay, they’ve got Draymond Green coming up in free agency the following year.”
On the other hand, James had never extended public praise to Klay before this season. It’s of a similar vein to Luke Walton hanging with Klay on a Qatar trip this offseason, in what many around the league saw as part of a soft recruitment. While Thompson has indicated an interest in remaining a “Warrior for life,” his return cannot just be taken for granted. Still, the expectation within and outside the Warriors is that Klay isn’t leaving. This is why you don’t hear about any team besides the Lakers gearing up for the Summer of Klay.
Hunter Atkins: Draymond Green’s first comments since flair up with Kevin Durant: “I’m never going to change who I am... I read a lot about how...’Did I force Kevin to leave?’...Whatever Kevin decides to do, whatever Klay decides to do, we had great years together. I support everybody.”
Jeff Zilgitt: Draymond's statement, saying he would address the issue one time and one time only. Didn't apologize. But said the Warriors wouldn't crumble because of an argument. Worth a listen.
The Lakers would definitely love a shot at pairing him with LeBron James. But the expectation across the league is that Thompson will re-sign with Golden State. Executives I’ve spoken with said they would be shocked if Thompson left the Warriors.
Thompson will turn 29 this season and will hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career next summer. With upward of a decade more of professional hoops remaining, Thompson could decide to wear a different uniform. And were he to hit free agency, it would be at a time when his particular skill set has never been more valued by this league. Every single team has shooting at the top of its wish list. The Lakers would definitely love a shot at pairing him with LeBron James. But the expectation across the league is that Thompson will re-sign with Golden State. Executives I’ve spoken with said they would be shocked if Thompson left the Warriors.
Another wild card: What if Golden State signals it doesn't want to pay full freight for one of Klay Thompson (a free agent this summer) and Draymond Green (a free agent in the summer of 2020, potentially up for a massive designated player extension after this season)? Thompson has no plans to take a discount, and the Warriors don't expect him to, league sources say. Green already is dealing with small injuries; the league is curious about how his game will age.
The Warriors would like to agree to an extension with Thompson before he becomes a free agent next summer. Same thing with Green before he is on the market in 2020. They are talking with their reps, but nothing has changed. Both want to enter the open market, though, to maximize their deal.
Anthony Slater: Reporter: "Given the economics of the game, is there any thought that this is the last go around with this core group?" Steve Kerr: "No" .....long pause..... "Can't make it any clearer than that"
Shams Charania: From @watchstadium 1-on-1 with Warriors' Klay Thompson: The 3-time champ on ever envisioning 'your own team', '19 free agency. “I don’t want necessarily to be the focal point at all times. I’ve been to the mountain top...I’ve put so much blood, sweat, tears with this franchise."
When asked if he would be weighing in that factor more heavily as he approaches free agency this summer, the 28-year-old didn't hesitate. "Yeah, definitely," Thompson said. "I think it would be stupid not to be. It's hard to walk away from something -- you were here when it started and yeah, you just want to stay on the train as long as you can."
Nick Friedell: Klay Thompson says his 'sole focus' is on trying to win this season and having some fun along the way. Says he will let his agent handle the conversations regarding a possible extension heading into this summer.
Anthony Slater: Klay Thompson asked if he is at least curious about testing free agency: "Not really. When guys go into free agency, they're looking for situations like mine. I'm perfectly content."
Monte Poole: Klay Thompson: When NBA guys enter free agency, they're looking for a situation like the one he already has. Points out the banners hanging at #Warriors facility.
You mentioned, I think at the end of last season, that you were going approach Klay Thompson and Draymond Green with contract extension offers. Did that happen? Was there any progress made with either one of them? Joe Lacob: I’ll let Bob address those, specifically. But I think it’s fair to say we’ve had discussions with both of them over the summer, their representatives. Nothing’s been done or you’d hear about it. But we’d love to retain them long term in the organization and we will do whatever it takes to do that.
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.”
August 16, 2022 | 2:22 am EDT Update
Chris Haynes: Minnesota Timberwolves star Rudy Gobert will face the Utah Jazz for the first time on Oct. 21 in Minnesota and will return to Utah for the first time as an opponent on Dec. 9, league sources tell @YahooSports.
Marc Stein: The Knicks are scheduled to be in Dallas for former Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson’s return to Big D on Dec. 27, league sources tell me, two days after New York hosts Philadelphia on Christmas. More NBA from me: marcstein.Substack.com
Sean Cunningham: The Sacramento Kings will be opening the 2022-23 NBA season on the home court of Golden 1 Center against the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 19th, according to sources. @CarmichaelDave first to report.
Windhorst went on to say the Nets aren’t coming off asking for a big return for Durant in a trade. And that Brooklyn has no leverage with other teams, same as Durant has no leverage with the Nets. “I think what we have here is really a study of leverage. First off, the Nets do not have leverage in trade talks with other teams. They are not giving them the offers that they want. They see no reason to increase them. So, they’re not making any progress there,” said Windhorst. “Kevin Durant clearly does not have leverage with the Brooklyn Nets. He is asking for things: ‘Get me traded. Fire the coach. Fire the GM.’ He is being told no. So, when you have denied leverage, you have a stalemate.”
When it comes to Simmons, his unique skill set is incredibly enticing, but his best ability will be availability. Fortunately, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, that won’t be a problem for Simmons in 2022-23: “You and Kyrie and Ben Simmons — who, by the way, news flash here. I ran into Ben Simmons. He and I had a nice conversation … I support the brother. I had a problem with him not playing. That’s the past. He’s ready to go. He swears he’s ready to go.”