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Klay Thompson says his $80 million shoe deal makes Warriors discount possible


We are two years away from Klay Thompson having to really answer this question. Which is a couple of lifetimes in the NBA — a lot can change. Discussing contracts that far out is speculation.

For those next two years, the Golden State Warriors should be dominant. Then in the summer of 2019, Klay Thompson becomes a free agent, and if he leaves for more money or more the opportunity to be a first option on another team, it could the first domino to fall in the crumbling of the Warriors.

Which is why it was news when Thompson recently told The Athletic he would consider taking a discount to stay, when the time comes. Thompson expounded on those thoughts while speaking to reporters in China, including Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News.

“We’re talking like 24 months away,” Thompson said before practice on Wednesday at Shenzhen City Arena. “But it’s something that definitely crossed my mind, especially when you see guys like Kevin (Durant) doing it.”

Durant took nearly $9 million less than he could have squeezed out of the Warriors, but did so with the understanding the team would bring back Andre Iguodala and Shawn Livingston. They did. Durant could afford to do that because he makes more in endorsements off the court than he does on it.

Thompson said he is in the same situation, what makes the idea of a discount possible is all his off-the-court income. He recently signed a 10-year extension with Chinese shoe company Anta worth a reported $80 million. He also has sponsorships with BODYARMOR Sports Drink and Built with Chocolate Milk. That extra money makes it possible for him to take a discount now.

“100 percent, it’d be different if I was making scraps off the court,” Thompson said. “But I’ve been very blessed to be a part of winning team. When you’re part of a winning team, everybody gets to eat. So that’s why I’m indebted to the guys around me. Without them, I would not have the deals that I have.”

Thompson has long seemed less concerned with the status that comes with a max contract. Maybe it’s having grown up with an NBA playing father, but he has always put winning first.

Whether he will do that in two years is impossible to predict, but if anyone would consider it Thompson would be the guy.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”


Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.