Klay Thompson is an important part of the Warriors future, a competent two-guard who excels on both ends of the floor, and has proven to be a more than solid backcourt partner playing alongside Stephen Curry in Golden State.
After dangling Thompson in trade talks for Kevin Love before ultimately deciding that Thompson was a better fit from a basketball standpoint for the current roster, the Warriors have a large financial commitment to make. It’ll either happen with an extension before Oct. 31, or next summer, when Thompson becomes an unrestricted free agent.
With the new broadcast rights deal not kicking in until 2016, Thompson could do what LeBron James and Kevin Love did, which is sign short-term deals with opt-outs after this season in order to maximize future earnings. But his focus is gaining financial security now, as opposed to going through multiple years of negotiations.
From J.A. Adande of ESPN.com:
If Thompson wants in on the gold rush on the horizon, he could always sign a one-year deal, then become a restricted free agent in 2016.
“It really is tempting to do all that,” Thompson said. “But I’d rather have the security right now, you know?” …
The Warriors could actually be the ones gaining security from a max deal right now. Locking in Thompson could seem like a bargain once the NBA revenues roll up in a couple of years. Early projections have the 2016-17 salary cap estimated at almost $90 million (it’s at $63 million this season). The Warriors could have their backcourt of Thompson and Stephen Curry for under $30 million combined, which would be about 30 percent of the salary cap. Compare that to the 50 to 57 percent of the cap that duos such as Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose/Joakim Noah and Dwight Howard/James Harden eat up this season, and imagine the flexibility that would give the Warriors to build around their stellar guards in 2016-17.
That last part is especially intriguing, and should have Warriors fans giddy at the mere thought of it.
Curry’s four-year, $44 million deal is an insane bargain by NBA standards, mainly because he signed it in 2012 after being limited by ankle injuries the previous season. Thompson will make significantly more than that on his next contract, but with the salary cap continuing to rise, the effect his deal will have on the future flexibility of the franchise will be minimal, at best.