Warriors Send Thompson, Wiseman to G League as Return Dates Near

Klay Thompson

Getty Klay Thompson sits with teammates during a Golden State Warriors game.

The return to the NBA for Klay Thompson and James Wiseman will take a detour through Santa Cruz.

The Golden State Warriors assigned both players to the G League affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors in what is likely one of the final steps before returning to the NBA. Thompson is nearing the end of his rehab for a torn Achilles that wiped out his 2020-21 season, while Wiseman is working his way back from a torn meniscus in his right knee that cut short his rookie season. Both are on track to play again before the end of the month.

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Thompson, Wiseman Practice With Santa Cruz

While the Warriors traveled to Los Angeles and notched a win over the Clippers early on Sunday, Thompson and Wiseman were sent to Santa Cruz to get more time on the court. As Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area noted, the team announced that both would be practicing with Santa Cruz on Sunday, though it was not clear if they would stay with the Sea Dubs for games scheduled for December 3 and 5 at home.

Thompson returned to full-contact practices and is on track to play for Golden State sometime before Christmas, somewhat earlier than some projections. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said he could likely hit the court before the team’s Christmas Day matchup against the Phoenix Suns.

“I’m told if he continues on his current course right now in rehab, that a target date for his return will be set probably within the next couple weeks,” Wojnarowski said earlier this month, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “And it could be — there’s optimism it could be as soon as December 20, December 23. The Warriors have home games before Christmas, and so the plan for Klay Thompson is to continue to ramp up.”

Wiseman has not yet been cleared for full-contact practices, but Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that both he and Thompson have been getting in work to prepare for their returns.

“Klay will be scrimmaging and James will continue his work,” Kerr said before Sunday’s game, via ESPN. “I don’t think (Wiseman) is scrimmaging yet, but Klay will be doing 5-on-5.”

Santa Cruz Becomes Popular Destination for Warriors Players

Kerr has made good use of the short distance between Golden State’s home in San Francisco and the G League affiliate in Santa Cruz. Rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody have been sent down several times to get more on-court time, with the most recent trip coming earlier in the week. Moody helped the Sea Dubs secure a win with a block at the buzzer in a game on November 26.

Wiseman said he welcomes the chance to get some playing time in Santa Cruz to prepare for his return. The Warriors have often used their G League affiliate to develop young players, sending guard Jordan Poole down last season to give him more playing time that helped him to blossom into a breakout star this year.

“I would like to go down there so that I can get sharp physically, mentally,” Wiseman said earlier in the month, via ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “And I’m getting there. So whatever happens within that time, I’m down for whatever.”

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