Warriors’ 4-Time Champ Projected to Take Monster Pay Cut to Stay in Bay

Klay Draymond Poole

Getty Golden State Warriors stars Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole celebrate a three-point basket during a bout with the Utah Jazz

The Golden State Warriors are one of the most expensive franchises in the NBA, but even they can’t afford to sign every one of their stars to maximum contracts.

Aside from the very real possibility that the Dubs will be forced to part ways with either Jordan Poole or Andrew Wiggins next offseason, if the team hopes to keep the rest of its core together, at least one of either Klay Thompson or Draymond Green is probably going to have to accept a significant pay cut from what they would otherwise earn.

Steph Curry is under contract for the next four years at approximately $215 million total. Green can opt out of the final year of his deal next summer, forfeiting more than $27 million in the process and demand a max offer. Thompson remains under contract for the next two seasons at annual salaries of more than $40 million and $43 million, respectively.

Just the timing of their respective free agencies puts Green in a better position than Thompson. Beyond that, however, Thompson has a disposition more favorable to a discount than does Green. Thompson also has more reason to trust the Warriors to reimburse him in some fashion down the line considering his recent contract history with the franchise.

Warriors Have Paid Klay Thompson Huge For 2 Lost Seasons

Klay Thompson Warriors

GettyGolden State Warriors star Klay Thompson warms up prior to his January 9, 2022 comeback game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Brady Klopfer of SB Nation on Wednesday, September 7, suggested that Thompson is far more likely to take a pay cut based on the loyalty the franchise has shown him to this point in his career.

It’s really hard to say [if Thompson or Green will take pay cuts], because we don’t know how they’ll look when they become free agents. Klay Thompson still has two years left on his deal. Draymond Green has one year, with an option for a second year. Will they be All-NBA talents on a championship team when they hit free agency? Or will they be sentimental fan favorites on a team transitioning to their next era?

Either way, [Thompson] is much, much more likely to take a big pay cut than [Green], and not just because of the reports that Green is seeking a max contract and willing to go outside the organization to find it. First, Thompson has more room to take a pay cut than Green does. … Second and more importantly, Thompson’s recent contract has taken great care of him.

The Warriors inked Thompson to a five-year deal worth just shy of $190 million, doing so just a few weeks after he tore his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

Thompson ended up collecting the first half of that contract without playing a regular season game, as he tore his Achilles’ tendon just as he was approaching the end of his ACL rehabilitation — ultimately resulting in two and a half consecutive years of missed action.

Thompson’s Sacrifice Could Keep Warriors Title Contenders For Years

Curry, Thompson, Green

Getty(From the left) Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors celebrate their fourth NBA title in June 2022.

Both Thompson and Green will turn 33 years old this season, while Curry will hit 35 years of age. Locking all three of them down into their late 30s may not seem like the best recipe for long-term success, but it certainly can’t be described as an altogether bad one, either.

Curry played to an MVP level throughout the first half of last season and won the first NBA Finals MVP honors of his career in June. Green remains arguably the best defender in the league and has an on-court chemistry with Curry that is rare in the modern game due to increased player movement.

Thompson looked a step slower at times after returning from two catastrophic injuries, but he remains the clutch shooter he’s always been and the perfect backcourt match with Curry on offense. Should Thompson take a leap toward a return to his pre-injury form, the Warriors should contend for their fifth title in nine years next season.

Add Kevon Looney to the mix for at least the next three years and either Poole or Wiggins on a free agency contract next summer, and the Dubs are positioned well into the future.

That all goes without saying that the Warriors have one of the better young groups of talent in the NBA with third-year big man James Wiseman returning from injury, and second-year players Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody leading the youth charge.

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