Klay Thompson, fresh of a successful run at the World Cup, is eligible for a contract extension.
I’m sure he wants a max deal. Given that the Warriors wouldn’t trade him for Kevin Love, Thompson will probably get one.
But just in case, his agent, Bill Duffy, is trying his case through the media.
Duffy is widely known to be demanding a maximum contract that the Warriors would prefer not to pay. His reasoning? He sees Thompson as the best shooting guard in the game.
“I don’t want (Los Angeles Lakers star) Kobe Bryant to go crazy, but there’s some uncertainty as to who he is right now (because of injuries that limited him to six games last season),” Duffy told USA TODAY Sports. “But I think Klay Thompson right now is the top two-way, two-guard in basketball. I think when you look at his body of work, when you look at what he accomplished guarding point guards on a regular basis (last season), I think it’s pretty clear.”
Just seven active(ish) shooting guards have made an All-NBA team:
- James Harden
- Kobe Bryant
- Dwyane Wade
- Manu Ginobili
- Joe Johnson
- Paul Pierce
- Ray Allen
Allen stretches the limits of active. Pierce and Johnson are more of small forwards. Ginobili (37), Bryant (36) and Wade (32) have all aged considerably. And “two-way” was Duffy’s way of eliminating Harden, a notoriously bad defender.
Shooting guard is a weak position league-wide right now, opening the door for the emerging Thompson.
Thompson might not be there yet, but he’s at least knocking on the door.
I tend to believe Thompson is better than a 36-year-old who played just six games last season due to injury. Just because his name is Kobe Bryant doesn’t mean he’ll overcome all the factors working against him. Maybe Kobe beats the odds. I’ll take the odds.
Really, Dwyane Wade is probably a bigger threat to Thompson. The Heat star is coming off an NBA Finals where he looked over the hill, and injuries have bothered him in recent years. But he’s considerably younger than Kobe and played very well when on the court most of last year.
However, as Duffy knows, comparing his client to Kobe is a better gambit than comparing him to Wade. One, Thompson is more likely to compare favorably to Kobe than to Wade at the end of the season. Two, comparing Thompson to Kobe is more likely to drum up discussion than to Wade.
Duffy’s job is not to make sound basketball judgments. It’s make Thompson money.
By the end of the season, Thompson could certainly prove Duffy right and become the best two-way shooting guard in the NBA. But I think there’s an even better chance Thompson lands that max extension from the Warriors.