NBA Execs Predict Warriors Star Klay Thompson’s Future

Warriors star Klay Thompson

Getty Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors warms up before a game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Klay Thompson‘s future looms over the Golden State Warriors this season as they try to extend their dynasty window.

According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, seven of the eight executives he polled believe Thompson will ultimately re-sign with the Warriors.

“Klay’s not going anywhere,” one NBA executive told Scotto. “The Warriors can’t let him walk. He’s a four-time champion, and they can’t really replace him. At some point, if a player isn’t getting the job done and still wants to play as he gets older, you’d come off the bench, and he’s doing that while playing better. Maybe they tie his deal to Steph’s. Klay’s value is in the $20-25 million range.”

The max money Thompson sought last summer will no longer be there this offseason after his on-court struggles and his move to the bench. But his eventual acceptance of his new role as the Warriors’ Sixth Man, despite his initial resistance, could be the key to their sticking with each other.

But the same NBA executive did not rule out two teams who could try to lure Thompson out of the Bay Area with more money and a starting role.

“I think other teams would sign him,” the NBA exec told Scotto. “If you’re Detroit, wouldn’t you love that level of maturity and experience? Monty Williams wants a grown-up. If you’re the Magic, don’t you want a grown-up? They need a legitimate shooting guard. Jalen Suggs is a combo guard. I think Gary Harris could be gone this summer. Let the point guard position be a combination of Anthony Black, Suggs, and Cole Anthony. Orlando likes size, which Klay has, and he’d give them shooting.”

‘I’m Me Whether I Start or Come off the Bench’

After yelling at the coaching staff when Steve Kerr told him about his decision to move him to the bench, Thompson has come to accept his new role.

“I still think I’m me whether I start or come off the bench,” Thompson told reporters after scoring 25 points off the bench in the Warriors’ 125-122 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, March 7. “The most important part of playing is just being yourself. You don’t want to pigeonhole yourself into playing a certain role and it’s been an easy transition for me and I look forward to continuing to try and help this team win as many games as possible.”

Though it is still a small sample size, Thompson has shot the ball better in his new role as a reserve than as a starter.

He is averaging 18.8 points on 43.4% shooting from deep in eight games off the bench this season. In contrast, Thompson averaged 16.7 points on 36.9% 3-point shooting as a starter.

Pathway for Warriors to Re-Sign Klay Thompson

According to Bleacher Report’s salary cap guru Eric Pincus, the Warriors still have a way to re-sign Thompson without reaching the second apron.

“Assume [Chris] Paul is let go for financial sanity. His $30 million salary (currently non-guaranteed) can be used in trade should the Warriors choose to stay above the second apron (limiting the team to minimum players). Without Paul, Thompson can return in the $20-27 million starting salary range, giving the Warriors the TMLE,” Pincus wrote on March 1.

If Joe Lacob follows through on their Plan A1, then that could mean the end of Thompson’s tenure with the Warriors.

“But Golden State may try to duck the tax entirely, which may mean the end of the era of the Splash Brothers—at which point the team could use the NTMLE and still stay below the threshold,” Pincus added.