Former Warriors Guard Warns Against Klay Thompson Extension

Klay Thompson, Warriors

Getty Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors watches from the bench during a playoff loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in May 2023.

The Golden State Warriors have a couple of monster contract extensions to consider over the summer, including a deal to bring back Klay Thompson.

Gilbert Arenas, who played his first two NBA seasons as the Dubs’ point guard, advised the team against extending Thompson this summer. Instead, he said the Warriors should let their shooting guard play out the 2023-24 season and hit free agency a year from now. At that point, they can get a sense of the market for Thompson and match the highest contract he’s offered, assuming it makes financial sense.

“I’m not going to give him an extension,” Arenas said during the Wednesday, May 24 edition of his No Chill With Gilbert Arenas podcast. “I want to see what his value is [on] the open market.”

“It’s an a****** move, but sometimes you just got to be the a******,” Arenas continued. “Whatever he gets [on] the open market, I would try to match. But I would want to see what the value is versus just automatically giving him an extension.”

Klay Thompson Suffered Big Dip in Production During Playoff Series Vs. Lakers

Warriors' Klay Thompson guards Lakers' D'Angelo Russell

GettyGolden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson defends Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell during the Western Conference Semifinals in May 2023.

Arenas’ point of view is the opposite of sentimental, though it makes considerable financial sense.

There is no sugar coating the fact that Thompson has not been the same player he was prior to suffering a torn ACL and a torn Achilles tendon that kept him sidelined for two and a half consecutive seasons. He returned in January 2022 and helped lead the Warriors to what was something of an improbable playoff run, which ended in the team’s fourth NBA title in eight seasons.

However, Thompson’s offensive efficiency and defensive prowess both declined over his last two campaigns, as did his availability. He appeared in 69 regular season contests last year, the lowest total of his career since his rookie campaign, not including seasons in which he missed significant time due to injury.

Thompson also struggled mightily against the Los Angeles Lakers during the Western Conference Semifinals, shooting just 34.3% from the field for the series and averaging only nine points per game across the final three contests, per ESPN.

Klay Thompson Expected to Take Pay Cut on Extension With Warriors

Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

GettyKlay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors is eligible for a contract extension in the summer of 2023.

The second half of Golden State’s famed Splash Brothers duo will turn 34 years old in November, meaning the trajectory of Thompson’s play is likely to trend downward rather than rebounding in any significant way moving forward.

Regardless of what the Warriors decide to offer Thompson, if anything, the shooting guard will be a member of the Golden State roster in 2023-24. He will play next season on the fifth and final year of a $190 million max contract he signed in July 2019, roughly one month after tearing his ACL during the NBA Finals. The Warriors will pay Thompson $42.3 million for his services next year.

Another max deal for Thompson that would keep him in Golden State for five more seasons through the 2028-29 campaign will cost the Warriors in the neighborhood of $273 million, per SportsNaut. While the Dubs are expected to offer Thompson a significant extension of some kind, Anthony Slater and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on May 12 that the “expectation” is Thompson will be required to accept a pay cut.

Golden State is currently on track for a payroll/luxury tax bill north of $400 million in 2023-24 and will need to consider a multiyear extension for Draymond Green this summer should he opt out of the final year of his contract.

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