By the time Klay Thompson signs his next contract, he may be ready to follow Kevin Durant’s lead.
Durant, last season’s NBA Finals MVP, accepted almost $10 million less than he was eligible to earn in 2017-18 so that the Golden State Warriors wouldn’t blink at bringing back their entire core. And it seems Thompson, who is slated for free agency in 2019, isn’t opposed to doing the same.
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.”
Most expect the Warriors to bust up the band at some point. Green is due to hit free agency the year after Thompson, and Durant won’t accept near-$10 million-per-year discounts forever. Their luxury-tax penalties will inevitably be untenable. Green’s free agency, in 2020, is supposed to serve as a turning point—if it doesn’t come before then. Stephen Curry will still be on his current deal, while Durant and Thompson will be under new ones.
Would the Warriors consider cutting Green loose or trading Thompson to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars to keep their dynastic nucleus intact? It’s far too early to tell. So much can happen between now and then, or even between now and 2019. If the Warriors are working off three or four straight championships, maybe everyone is taking a pay cut. Or maybe they just foot the bill to preserve one of the best foundations in league history. Or perhaps someone, like Green or Thompson, gets the itch to run his own team.
Nothing is for certain this far in advance. Warriors fans can only sit back, enjoy what they have for now and be thankful that, when the time comes, they have players who might be willing to take less so the party doesn’t have to end.