Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Wednesday night at 6:00pm P.T., streaming live on the MyTeams app.
During last year’s playoffs, it sounded like Klay Thompson was seriously considering signing an extension with the Warriors once the season came to an end.
The reported deal would have paid him about $102 million over four seasons — starting in 2019-20. In the end, no deal was struck and the three-time champion will become an unrestricted free agent in July.
Why did Klay go this route? Well, back in mid-October, we learned that he was prepared to make as much money as possible from Golden State.
As ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported: “Thompson has no plans to take a discount, and the Warriors don’t expect him to, league sources say.”
So how or why did his mindset change? Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group recently explained that the five-time All-Star is seeking a max deal for several reasons:
He cemented a key role in the Warriors’ three title runs in the past four years. He does not complain about his role that Stephen Curry and Durant often overshadow. And even if Durant leaves this summer, any paycut Thompson accepts would most likely lessen the Warriors’ luxury tax bill than help them sign another player.
In other words, Klay believes he is worth the max — he’s right — and he knows that Golden State ownership can afford it.
Just ask Joe Lacob.
“We can do whatever we want (financially),” the Warriors’ CEO told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. “And you should expect that that’s not going to be a reason this team … doesn’t stay great going forward. We have the capital to pay our players what they deserve. And we will.”
Welp. It doesn’t really get any more crystal clear than that.
As Klay’s father, Mychal, said back in early November — there won’t even really be a back-and-forth between Klay’s agent and the franchise.
“The money thing is basically set in stone. Everybody knows what the salary cap is, everybody knows what a player of Klay’s caliber and tenure in the league is supposed to get on his next deal.
“So basically, there’s no need to negotiate — everybody’s number is set because of the salary cap rules.”
That number for Klay is about $190 million over five years.
Assuming Joe Lacob is true to his word, Klay will be a very rich man in July.
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller