The future of the Golden State Warriors very much hinges upon what happens this offseason.
Klay Thompson will be a free agent after the season, while Kevin Durant is widely expected to decline his player option and become a free agent. Does either player leave or do they stay with the Warriors to continue the dynasty?
Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on Tuesday that they are confident both players will re-sign with the team.
Joe Lacob text today: "We love Klay and KD and intend to attempt to re-sign them. Period. I am confident about BOTH of them."
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) May 22, 2019
Thompson’s camp has been making noise about him considering other options if the Warriors don’t offer him a max contract. As long as Golden State is willing to pay him — and it sounds like they are — the likelihood of him returning seems very high. Durant is the much bigger question.
There has long been a line of thinking that Durant joined the Warriors to win championships for his legacy and that he would leave once he accomplished that goal. The Knicks have long been considered a potential destination for him, but recently other teams have been mentioned as possibilities.
Our guess is that despite the Warriors’ best efforts to retain him, Durant will probably leave. What team he chooses is the big question.
Klay Thompson will have an interesting decision to make when his contract expires and he becomes a free agent this summer, but the Golden State Warriors star’s father has made it clear on numerous occasions what he thinks his son should do.
In an interview with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Sunday, Mychal Thompson — a former NBA player himself — was asked what advice he would give to Klay about his impending free agency. He indicated he thinks Klay should stay put.
“Any advice any mother or father would give to their child in their place of employment. If you are happy where you’re at and comfortable and this is where you want to be, just stay where you are,” Mychal Thompson said. “There’s no reason to go looking for anything else if you’re happy and content with where you’re already at, which he definitely is. He loves the Bay Area, loves playing for the Warriors, loves their fans.”
Of course, money will be a factor. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnaorwski previously reported that Thompson will re-sign with the Warriors without hesitation if they offer him a max contract, but that may not be a guarantee. Kevin Durant could make things interesting if he decides to remain with Golden State.
Most people seem to think Durant will leave, which would free up a max slot for the Warriors. Of course, they can offer Thompson a max contract either way and spend beyond the salary cap because they hold his Bird rights, but you have to wonder if there’s a limit to the amount of luxury tax they want to pay.
When you look at the comments Mychal Thompson made over the weekend and what he said last year, it would be quite the surprise if Klay signed with another team after the season.
The Golden State Warriors’ win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night convinced some that they don’t need Kevin Durant, but you won’t be hearing that from inside the locker room.
Klay Thompson, who hit a key shot down the stretch to finish Houston off, said the Warriors “desperately” need Durant back for the remainder of the playoff run, calling him the team’s best player.
Klay Thompson on Durant: I’m happy we won so we can get some rest & get him healthy b/c if we’re going to get this 3-peat, we desperately need him back. He’s our best player, so we dearly miss him. We’ll hold it down while he’s out, but it’s not the same without him, far from it.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) May 11, 2019
There’s a case to be made that the Warriors don’t really need Durant to retain the title, but for whatever criticism there is of him out there, they are better off if they can turn to him. It’s unclear when they’ll get him back, but there is certainly a chance he could suit up for them in the Western Conference Finals.
Did the officials miss a turnover by Klay Thompson in the final seconds of Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on Wednesday night between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets?
Golden State was up 102-99 with 18.6 seconds left and taking the ball out under their basket. Thompson got the ball, dribbled up the court, and ended up trapped by two Rockets after a pass. He jumped up to pass the ball and landed out of bounds. The question is whether he let go of the ball before he landed out of bounds.
Pretty sure Klay's foot was down before it left his hand. pic.twitter.com/HyUKimH2nh
— arcusD (@_MarcusD3_) May 9, 2019
This screenshot seems to show that a turnover should have been called:
— Mike (@StonewallSieve) May 9, 2019
Had a call been made, the Rockets would have gotten the ball back down three with around 10 seconds left and a decent chance at tying the game.
It’s easy to see why they might be upset over the blown call, especially when you factor in that the Rockets were victims of an even worse blown call against Golden State in January.
Golden State pulled out a 104-99 win and now leads the series 3-2. Game 6 will be in Houston on Friday, with all questions being about Kevin Durant’s health.
The Golden State Warriors’ future remains uncertain due to the fact that two key players are eyeing free agency this summer, but there appears to be some confidence that at least one of them will stay.
Guard Klay Thompson is set to hit the open market this summer. Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes that everyone in the organization wants him to stay — and, more importantly, that the feeling is mutual.
“I know that everybody — coaches, management, ownership — everybody wants Klay back,” Kerr said, via Nick Friedell of ESPN. “I think the feeling is just, Klay wants to be here, we want Klay.”
The speculation will not be dying out anytime soon, and there are some reports that Thompson wants a larger role in the Golden State offense. That would likely come if he stays and Kevin Durant leaves, but there’s no guarantee of that, either. It will be one of the most intriguing subplots of the summer, but it’s logical that the ideal scenario for everyone is that they ultimately stay together.
The Golden State Warriors are hoping all of the rumors about Kevin Durant having one foot out the door turn out to be untrue, but they may need to shift some of their attention to another one of their star players if they want to avoid their roster being completely gutted this summer.
Klay Thompson is also set to become a free agent after the season, and speculation is growing that the 29-year-old wants nothing less than a max contract. According to a report from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Thompson is not currently feeling the love from the Warriors.
I'm told Klay Thompson isn't happy and here's why. pic.twitter.com/l9lELKbKCo
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) May 7, 2019
“I’m told Klay Thompson isn’t happy. His number hasn’t been called nearly enough,” Smith said. “He’s tired of sitting around and getting, and this is a quote, ‘the crumbs left behind by other people.'”
Smith added that top executives around the NBA like Pat Riley and Jerry West have spoken with Golden State’s brass and urged them that their priority needs to be keeping Thompson and Stephen Curry together — especially if it appears likely that Durant is going to sign elsewhere.
Should Durant leave, that would obviously open up a max contract slot for the Warriors. The question then becomes whether they would want to use that for Thompson — whom they can re-sign anyway because of Bird rights — or pursue another star free agent. If Golden State is willing to offer Thompson a max contract regardless of how the Durant situation plays out, he probably isn’t going anywhere.
There have been rumblings that Thompson could have his eye on a specific team if the Warriors don’t show him they value him enough. That said, he averaged 21.5 points per game during the regular season and is averaging 16.5 in the playoffs. It’s not as if he is being ignored, but perhaps he wants to go somewhere where he isn’t the third or fourth option on offense.
- Klay Thompson
The biggest question for the Golden State Warriors heading into the offseason is obviously the impending free agency of Kevin Durant, but they also need to write a big check to Klay Thompson if they want him to stick around. And if the amount of that check is anything less than the maximum allowed under the NBA’s salary cap, the sharpshooter may decide he is better off elsewhere.
During Monday’s edition of ESPN’s “Get Up,” Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Thompson will re-sign with the Warriors this summer without hesitation if they offer him a max contract. If not, the Los Angeles Clippers will be a team to keep an eye on.
“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 said, per Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report. “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.”
Thompson would almost certainly get a max contract on the free agent market, but the Warriors can already offer him more than any other team. There has been some thought that Thompson may be open to taking a hometown discount in order to help keep Golden State’s championship core intact, but that may only be the case if Durant is re-signing as well.
If Durant decides to leave the Warriors, Thompson could argue that there is no incentive for him to take less money on his next deal. In all likelihood, the Warriors would have no problem giving him a max if that were the case.
Judging by what Thompson’s father said last year, it still seems like there’s a good chance Klay sticks around for the long haul in Golden State.