Warriors May Need Klay Thompson to Take Discount on Next Deal: Insiders

Klay Thompson

Getty Klay Thompson looks on during a Golden State Warriors game.

The Golden State Warriors paid Klay Thompson handsomely for the more than two years he spent away from the court, rehabbing a pair of back-to-back major injuries.

The team may need Thompson to pay back the generosity by taking a discount on his next contract, a pair of insiders speculate.

The Athletic’s Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson II broke down the team’s impending financial predicament, with four key players all eligible for extensions and likely not enough money to pay for all of them. Along with Thompson, others eligible for extensions include Jordan Poole, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. Extending all of them would lead to what the writers called “astronomical luxury-tax penalties,” likely north of $560 million.

But getting Thompson to take a discount could help matters considerably, and possibly extend the team’s title window, they added.

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Thompson’s Deal

As Slater and Thompson noted, the Warriors gave Thompson a max extension after he tore his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals. After he suffered a torn Achilles the next year and didn’t return until this January,  Thompson ended up making $106.1 million for playing a total of 32 games over the course of three full seasons.

There is no indication that Thompson is looking for an extension yet, as he still has two years and $83.8 million guaranteed remaining on his contract. But in order to keep the team’s core together, Thompson may need to be willing to accept a discount for his next deal, especially after both Poole and Wiggins assumed bigger roles in his absence, they wrote.

“So it is fitting that Thompson may be the answer to keeping as many of this core as possible,” Slater and Thompson wrote. “The Warriors desperately need someone to take a discount, and Thompson makes the most sense. While he should have value around the league because of the demand for shooting, his combination of age and recent injury history figures to limit how much he can command on the open market. He’d need this coming season to prove he can move like he once did, defend like he once did, shoot efficiently like he once did, to command top dollar.”

Thompson Could Take One for the Team

Thompson has shown a be a team-first player in the past, The Athletic’s writers noted. He has spoken about wanting only to play for coach Steve Kerr and to keep playing with friend Steph Curry. Thompson has also helped with the team and owner Joe Lacob’s plan to contend for titles with the core of veterans while also developing their promising young players.

Thompson helped to mentor some of those young players, including offering some guidance to 21-year-old center James Wiseman through his own frustrating injury and rehab journey. Wiseman suffered a knee injury that cut short his rookie season and then hit a bumpy rehab process that wiped out all of his second season.

During that time, Thompson grew closer to Wiseman, inviting the young center on his boat where they spoke about the difficult rehab process.

Wiseman said it helped to get him through the frustrating stretch.

“Some days weren’t good, but some days were great and he just took advantage of every moment,” Wiseman said in an appearance on the “Dubs Talk” podcast. “So when I was going through my rehab process, I took the same information … and I just added to my rehab.”

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