Klay Thompson is entering the final year of his contract at $43.2 million. Two things are certain going forward: 1) Both Thompson and the Warriors want to reach a contract extension that will keep him with the only team he has ever played for; 2) Following a couple of severe injuries, Thompson is no longer the elite two-way, All-NBA level player he once was and he'll have to take a pay cut.
Those are delicate negotiations, but the sides are talking, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said while on the Lowe Post Podcast. They are taking it slow, she adds.
"My understanding is that they have opened contract extension talks with Klay Thompson. This is a slow process. This idea that he's been eligible for a while and they haven't done anything... they've started talking. They've exchanged proposals. There's no hurry to these discussions. The optionality goes both ways. Not necessarily he's trying to leave, but just the optionality that he didn't have a great year last year. It behooves him to have a great year this year and he becomes more valuable if he does."
If the Warriors are going to be the contender they believe themselves to be this season with the addition of Chris Paul, a few things need to go right for them. Among those is a step forward from Thompson, who averaged 21.9 points per game last season and shot 41.2% from 3, but understandably was not the same shot creator, threat or defender he had been before two devastating injuries (torn ACL then Achilles). He has to be closer to his old self.
Even if he takes a step forward, he's no longer a $40 million a year player. What is a fair number per season for Thompson at age 33? Something close to $30-$35 million a season? And for how many years, with what incentives, and does Thompson have a player option at the end of it?
The Warriors reached a four-year, $100 million extension with Draymond Green to keep another aging part of their core together. There's a lot to negotiate, but the Warriors should be able to find a middle ground with Thompson and find a number that works for both of them.
If not... it would be weird to see Thompson in another team's jersey, but he will have options.