The question mark looming over Klay Thompson’s Warriors future got even bigger ahead of the start of the 2023-24 NBA season.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Monday morning, citing league sources, that there is a “significant gap” in extension negotiations as Thompson enters the final year of his current contract.
“The Warriors and Klay Thompson have been discussing an extension but from what I’m told, there’s a significant gap in years and money,” Charania said on FanDuel TV’s “Run It Back.” “The negotiations right now from what I’m told, they’re at a dead point. So Thompson wants much more than what the Warriors are offering overall in both years and salary. The Warriors have dealt with multiple Klay Thompson free agencies, multiple Steph Curry free agencies, we saw with Draymond Green, he was not extended last year, and then he had a solid year and they ended up paying him. They kept him and they kept their Big Three together.
“So as of right now, all signs point to Klay Thompson going into free agency in the summer, not getting an extension done. The Warriors want to take care of him, they want to pay him, but they also want to see how the season goes. Klay Thompson is going to have a chip on his shoulder.”
Last week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported something similar, stating the two sides haven’t made progress toward an extension and that Thompson likely could enter free agency after this season.
“I’m told that there has been absolutely no progress on a Klay Thompson extension in Golden State and that they are both still apart on years and money, and there’s a very real possibility that Klay Thompson goes into free agency next summer without a deal and I think that’s where it gets complicated for Golden State,” Wojnarowski said on “NBA Countdown.” “It becomes something of a high-wire act, especially if Klay Thompson duplicates this year the kind of season he had last year.
“You know in the marketplace teams value shooting, they value high-level wing defense. And I think for Golden State this has a chance to become the first real test of keeping together that core of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.”
Just a few feet away from Wojnarowski was former Warriors general manager and current ESPN analyst Bob Myers, who weighed in on the contract situation.
“Well this is why I left, first of all,” Myers joked. “A lot of times people will say ‘it’s just business,’ but this is not a ‘just business’ type of situation. There’s going to be a statue of this player outside of Chase Center. He was instrumental in bringing four championships, he’s beloved inside the organization, the fan base.
“So it’s not so simple as it’s money and years, this is … this is why it was hard for me, you get relationships with these people. Especially if you’ve succeeded with them. And that core has been together for 12 years and that’s just so rare now. It just doesn’t happen. And so this is a delicate negotiation. From what I know and see, he wants to stay, they want him to stay. Doesn’t mean it will happen, but it is a test. It’s certainly a test like Woj said, this is probably the first real test.”
Three days after Wojnarowski’s report, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob shared a message to Dub Nation and fans around the world worried about an extension.
“I hope it’s not a distraction,” Lacob told 95.7 The Game’s Bonta Hill and Joe Shasky on Wednesday on “The Morning Roast.” “I mean, we’re not in control of this. There’s two sides to every negotiation. We want him back. He wants to be back. It’s kind of like Draymond. I think everyone needs to just chill a little bit. Let it take its course.
“My guess is it works out. I can’t control it. I can’t dictate it. You can’t dictate it. Fans can’t dictate it. These things have to take their course. There are different parties involved, but the intentions are really good.”
And if you ask Thompson, he assured that the contract situation won’t get in the way of his performance on the court this season.
The four-time champion will play his 13th NBA season with the Warriors and is approaching the season with a clear mind, while also making it clear that he would like to remain in Golden State for the entirety of his career.
“It’s not going to be a thing,” Thompson told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater earlier this month. “The fact that I’m going into my 13th season — that alone — it gives me such peace of mind. Granted, I’ve made money, I’ve been able to take care of my family, myself, the people I love. But when I started playing this game, I never once thought I’m playing the game because I’m going to be rich and famous. Never did.
“I played this game because my dad played. I idolized him. My favorite athletes were hoopers. Kobe [Bryant]. Clyde Drexler and Rasheed Wallace, guys I was able to watch growing up. Reggie Miller. I just wanted to do something I loved for a living. It happened to be basketball. The fact I’m doing it for a 13th straight season is amazing.”