So, Thompson might put his money where his mouth is this summer.
According to multiple sources, Thompson and the Warriors have already engaged in discussions regarding a contract extension.
Thompson is already under contract next season at $18,988,725.
The largest extension he could sign, starting July 1 through the following June 30, would be worth $102,083,386 over five years ($25,520,846 annually). He could earn far more if he makes an All-NBA team this season, but with James Harden, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Victor Oladipo, Stephen Curry and DeMar DeRozan at guard, that’s highly unlikely.
If Thompson let his current contract expire then re-signs with Golden State in 2019 free agency, his max projects to be about $188 million over five years (about $38 million annually). That’s about $86 million more overall and $12 million more annually than an extension this offseason.
By signing an extension this summer, he’d also forfeit the chance to earn a super-max contract as a 2019 free agent. That projects to be worth about $219 million over five years (about $44 million annually) – about $117 million more overall and $18 million more annually than an extension this offseason.
For what it’s worth, Thompson’s max with another team in 2019 free agency projects to be about $139 million over four years (about $35 million annually). So, he definitely has the leverage to get far more from Golden State than an extension this summer would allow.
Thompson signing an extension now would be a major gift to Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, following Durant taking his own discount last summer. Why would Thompson (and Durant, at least his salary reduction below his Non-Bird amount) so willingly grant this favor to these billionaires?
Golden State has Bird Rights for all its stars. It’d be costly to keep those four together, especially considering the luxury tax, but no Collective Bargaining Agreement rule will break up this team. Thompson could put the burden on ownership to pay up. His talent gives him leverage.
And Lacob and Guber might have the means. The Warriors’ revenue is through the roof, and they’re moving into a sparkling new arena in San Francisco.
But not only did the Warriors build a team of great players, they apparently found the great players willing to make major financial sacrifices. That’ll only infuriate the rest of the league even more.