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Report: Klay Thompson, Warriors not close on extension

Klay Thompson Free Agent
Klay Thompson, who will be entering his age-35 season, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. (Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports)

Report: Klay Thompson, Warriors not close on extension

We are one month away from the start of the 2024 NBA Free Agency, and one of the biggest notable free agents is Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson.

Thompson is entering his age-35 season and is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career. The two sides are still reportedly hoping to get a deal done, but barring something unforeseen, it looks like the four-time champion will test the free agency waters for the first time in his 11-year career.

“The Warriors maintain a desire to retain Thompson at the right price once other aspects of their roster retool get clarified,” Anthony Slater, Warriors beat writer for The Athletic, reported Thursday. “But they haven’t exactly been beating down his door to work out the framework for an extension (which can be signed at any time). In turn, the 34-year-old Thompson appears ready to test free-agency waters, exploring external options for the first time in his career.

“The last time Thompson was a free agent, back in the summer of 2019, a quick max deal was agreed to without drama: five seasons, no team or player options, no thorny negotiations, no flirting with rival teams. That isn’t the current landscape.”

Thompson averaged 17.9 points on 43.2 percent shooting, including 38.7 percent shooting from long range and an NBA-best 92.7 percent from the free-throw line. His season was inconsistent offensively, though he ended on a high footnote, posting 19.7 points on 46.2/41.6/95.0 shooting splits.

His worst dip individually has been defensively; he isn’t the same player who can guard one-on-one in space anymore, oftentimes needing to funnel his player into help (which isn’t a bad thing, from a team perspective) or needing extra assistance along the backline. Missing two straight seasons (2019-21) with multiple serious lower body injuries doesn’t help, nor does being 34-years-old.

Chickster wrote that some executives believe he could receive $20-25 million. Golden State owns his bird rights, but may want to avoid that benchmark due to tax reasons. Less than one-third of the NBA is projected to have cap space available, and Slater details that Thompson isn’t going to go to a bad team because they give him the most money.

“Thompson wants to win. Don’t expect him to chase the largest possible offer from the Detroit Pistons or Charlotte Hornets, even if that’s the correct financial or leverage move,” he wrote. “His age and injury history might scare a team away from throwing down a long-term commitment, but perhaps a shorter-term, bigger-money deal could appeal to both sides, similar to the Bruce Brown Jr. or Fred VanVleet structures from a summer ago. That would give teams like the Thunder, Sixers or Magic — which all could’ve used his floor spacing in the playoffs — help now without a restrictive financial situation later.”

Perhaps Thompson could eat into a team’s mid-level–projected to be $12.9 million–or iron out a sign-and-trade for $15-20 million per to satisfy both sides.

Who knows what’s in store for Thompson? As the days go by, it appears less likely he’s returning to Golden State, even though he was open about spending his entire career there. Should he reach free agency without a contract, how do you think his situation ends up? Let us know in the comments!

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