Former Rival Expects Klay Thompson to Leave Warriors

Klay Thompson, Warriors

Getty Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

Golden State Warriors wing Klay Thompson headlines a star-studded free agency class this offseason, which could potentially include the likes of LeBron James, Paul George, James Harden and Pascal Siakam.

While the widespread belief is that Thompson will close out his storied career with the team that drafted him in 2011, former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Channing Frye is convinced that Thompson is in the middle of his last season in the Bay Area.

Speaking on Fan Duel TV’s “Run it Back,” Frye – who battled Thompson during the 2016 and 2017 NBA Finals – explained why his former rival will be donning non-Warriors colors starting with the 2024-25 NBA season.

“I know a lot of teams that are going to pay him crazy,” Frye said. “I think it’s up to him. Let me go with my gut here… I do think this is his last year. I think there’s a team that is going to pay him crazy just to not be on the Warriors anymore. Obviously, the Warriors have to make decisions. I think they’re gonna go younger now. I think this is kind of their last full run.

“If Klay doesn’t have a crazy playoff run, I can see somebody else saying, ‘Hey, we’ll start you.’ You got 35-40 minutes a night on a good playoff team. I can see somebody throwing some money at him.”

To Frye’s point, the Warriors have already begun the process of going younger, with a concerted effort to feature Brandin Podziemski and Jonathan Kuminga while bringing Thompson off the bench. It remains to be seen if Thompson will continue in the role during the playoffs considering Podz and Kuminga’s lack of postseason experience.

Did Klay Thompson’s Plan Backfire?

In December 2023, NBA insider Shams Charania reported that Thomspon turned down a two-year, $48 million extension with the Warriors before the start of the 2023-24 NBA season. By doing so, Thompson bet on himself to get a huge payday when he becomes a free agent in July 2024. However, with Thompson shooting a career-low 37.6% from deep and averaging his lowest scoring output since his rookie season, there’s growing uncertainty over the offers he could receive as a free agent. To make matters worse, The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported on February 27 that Thompson’s current relationship with Warriors ownership isn’t very favorable.

Amick noted that former Warriors front-office boss Bob Myers’ departure has created “a communication gap of sorts between Thompson and Warriors owner Joe Lacob” which could potentially lead to Thompson leaving Golden State imminently.

“…It’s clear their relationship has suffered some strain along the way, with league sources indicating that Thompson has received no assurances from on high that his hopes of retiring happily in a Warriors jersey someday will be a shared priority this summer,” Amick wrote on February 26.

Stephen Curry Reluctant to Lose His Splash Brother

If Stephen Curry had some say in front-office decisions, he, Thompson and Draymond Green would close out their careers together as Warriors. In an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews on February 19, Curry said he “100 percent” expects Thompson to remain a Warrior for life.

“I think that’s always been a motivator for us, and I think the way that we talk about it is we not only want to end our career as a Warrior, continue to compete at a high level, but you want to end it the right way,” Curry said.

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