The Golden State Warriors and Klay Thompson have discussed a contract extension that would keep the All-Star shooting guard in the Bay Area on a team-friendly contract for the foreseeable future, according to The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II. Thompson’s current deal is set to expire in 2019.
What kind of money are we talking here?
Thompson will be eligible to sign a four-year, $102 million extension in July that would keep him in Golden State through the 2022-23 season. This is significantly less than he could earn in free agency next summer, when he would be eligible for a five-year, $188 million contract from the Warriors or a four-year, $139 million deal from the cavalcade of suitors who would be lining up for his services.
The discussions between the Warriors and Thompson have broached the possibility of an average annual value of $23 million, The Athletic reported. For perspective, Harrison Barnes, who filled a role behind Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green on the 73-win Warriors, signed a higher-paying deal two years ago, when the salary cap was $14 million less than what it projects to be in 2019.
Why would Thompson want a hometown discount?
Thompson has long professed his desire to remain with the Warriors, most notably telling the San Jose Mercury News this past February that he would like to play his entire career in Golden State.
Thompson doubled down on his love for the Dubs earlier this week with Bleacher Report:
“I was part of building this culture. It wouldn’t be leaving everything I worked for behind, but it would be a whole new start. I was one of the pioneers of this. I’m one of the longest-tenured players here besides Steph, so I’m very prideful of the turnaround the Warriors have made. Just because I’m not the face of the franchise doesn’t mean I’m not recognized for it. Real fans and the people in the organization and my peers around the league, they see the work I’ve put in and realize I’ve been a huge component to the success here for the last five, six, seven years, so I have an identity here. It would be hard for me to envision going anywhere else.”
After rumors tied Thompson to a package that would have sent him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kevin Love in the summer of 2014, Thompson has be named an All-Star every season, sandwiching two titles around a record-setting regular season. He’s made two All-NBA rosters, and if he makes a third this season, he would be eligible for a supermax extension exceeding $200 million.
How do the Warriors keep underpaying players?
Thompson isn’t the only one giving up money in Golden State. Kevin Durant took almost $10 million less than he was eligible for this past summer, so that the Warriors could retain Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. More recently, he suggested signing another undervalued contract would mean the Warriors were “taking advantage of” him, and he will likely sign for max money this summer.
Curry signed a five-year, $201 million supermax contract last summer, and Green is signed for two more seasons. We’ve consistently wondered how the Warriors would foot a luxury tax bill that could soon exceed their $134 million payroll if all four of their All-Stars commanded maximum contracts, but Thompson signing for $12-15 million less than his annual market value would mitigate that some.
Such are the benefits of building a culture of selfless stars who seem more concerned with sustaining a dynasty than maximizing their earning potential, all as Golden State’s owners watch their franchise’s valuation rise to $3.1 billion in the process. The Warriors are not the rule. They are the exception.
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