Klay Thompson: No interest in becoming top player on lesser team than Warriors

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James Harden produced like a star in 2011-12, but was he actually one?

At the time, we couldn’t tell for certain. Harden was stuck behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the Thunder, a team deep with contributors even beyond its big two.

Harden, as we all know, declined a contract extension, and Oklahoma City traded him to Houston, where Harden developed into an MVP candidate.

Would Klay Thompson – stuck behind Stephen Curry – follow a similar path and work his way out of Golden State?

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:

“Winning is so much fun, man,” Thompson said. “It’s one thing to put up numbers and be the top guy on a team and it’s another thing to sacrifice and be on the best team in the NBA. I’ll take the latter every time. We have a lot of guys in this locker room who could be franchise players for other teams. That doesn’t matter. At the end of the day people are going to remember championships. That’s what it’s all about.”

The Warriors are certainly winning – 15-0, tying the NBA’s best-ever start – and having fun. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team so happy and so successful. Of course, Thompson would choose this situation over any other.

But Thompson won’t become a free agent until 2019. So much can change between now and then. Golden State probably won’t this good in four years, because it’s unreasonable to expect any team ever to be this good.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Thompson changes his mind on this. There are negatives to being stuck in Curry’s shadow, and those can become more significant over time.

This is his baseline, though, and that’s important. The Warriors have a great culture, and as long as they maintain it, it’ll go a long way in keeping talent in the Bay Area.