Already teams are eyeing him. Klay Thompson is a free agent in the summer of 2019 and a host of teams — most prominently the Los Angeles Lakers, but there are a host of other ones — have him on their target lists. He’s one of the game’s best shooters (45.5 percent from three this season), can work off the ball or off the dribble, and is a good defender. Every team could use a guy like Thompson.
Including the Golden State Warriors, who plan to keep him.
Thompson has said before he wants to stay — and is even willing to take a discount to do so — and as he heads to Los Angeles for his third All-Star Game this weekend he reiterated that to Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News.
“Absolutely (he wants to re-sign in Golden State),” Thompson told Bay Area News Group. “I’ve always said that. Playing for one team your whole career is definitely special. Only so many guys have done it in professional sports, so it’ll be a goal of mine. Hopefully it all works out…
“It’s so far away,” Thompson said of his pending free agency. “Anything I can do to stay with the Warriors is first and foremost. God willing, it happens. If not, I don’t even think about that.”
Thompson is a different guy, less ego driven than most NBA stars. Thompson values winning more than being the No. 1 option on a team. He doesn’t treat money as the status symbol and sign of respect other players do. Thompson has always valued winning and good camaraderie over the cash… within reason. Maybe it’s because he grew up with a father (Mychal Thomson) who was a former No. 1 pick but was happiest winning rings with Magic Johnson’s Showtime Lakers.
Thompson is still going to get a massive, near-max contract, but he may well consider a haircut on his salary to help keep the team together. He values winning more than most young players.
The big question on Golden State keeping Thompson and the core together falls on Golden State ownership — there are some big tax payment coming. Last summer the team re-signed Andre Iguodala and Shawn Livingston, and this summer Kevin Durant gets an updated deal — and no discount this time, he wants a max. When Thompson’s new contract hits Warriors’ tax bill going to go up heavily. The money is there — the Warriors made $91 million in profit last season (according to leaked NBA documents) and soon they will move into a new home arena that will be a revenue generation machine — but how much of that will ownership funnel back into the team?
Lakers’ fans can dream. Front offices around the league can plot. But the smart money is on Klay Thompson staying put in the summer of 2019.