When ESPN’s scoop master Adrian Wojnarowski said recently the Warriors were preparing for a “seismic change” this offseason, some took that to mean more than just the expected Kevin Durant departure from the Bay Area.
Klay Thompson is a free agent as well, and there are a lot of teams that will pitch him more than a max contract — that’s a given no matter where he lands — but the chance to step out of Stephen Curry‘s shadow and lead a team. Rumors are floating around that he is unhappy with the touches he gets after Durant and Curry.
Don’t bet on it. I have heard all season from sources that Thompson would stay with the Warriors as long as they offered him a full five-year, $190 million max contract, which they intend to do. (Try to sell him on taking less and then things change, his camp has been very clear about that.) I said that again just this week on the Lakers’ flagship radio station in Los Angeles. Thompson himself has said he wants to be a Warrior for life.
“You’ve never heard [Thompson] say anything bad about wanting to leave here or going to another team or being the No. 1 option. You’ve never even heard that off the record. Some players say the right thing publicly but have different feelings [in private]. He completely wants to be here and he gets it that this is a very rare situation.”
“I know that everybody — coaches, management, ownership — everybody wants Klay back,” Kerr said. “I think the feeling is just, Klay wants to be here, we want Klay.”
Another reason for all that Warriors’ confidence — they know Thompson is not a guy who seeks out the spotlight. Rather the opposite. He may want more touches (which he will get plenty of if/when Kevin Durant leaves), but he’s not a guy who needs “his” team to lead to be happy.
“It’s super rare,” Draymond Green told ESPN. “Especially in the day and age of social media. In this league, so many dudes just want attention. It’s kind of sickening. Just want attention. Don’t even do much for it but just want attention. It’s rare to have a guy that don’t want any. … It’s a new age with dudes. Klay just happen to not be one of them.”
Predicting in May what will happen in July is a tenuous exercise, things change and minds change. But the Warriors believe Thompson will join Curry and company in the move to the Chase Center. We will find out July 1 if that faith will be rewarded.