After struggling earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season, the Golden State Warriors have finally regained their rhythm and started playing like true defending champions. As of now, the Warriors are on a five-game winning streak and have regained the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference with a 30-14 record.
The Warriors are currently focused on winning their third consecutive NBA championship title, but when the season is over, they will be needing to make a tough decision regarding their roster. Two of the Warriors’ core players, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, are set to become unrestricted free agents next summer. Durant hasn’t shown any indication that he plans to part ways with Golden State in the upcoming free agency, but he also didn’t give them any assurance that he intends to stay.
In the past months, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that Kevin Durant will leave the Warriors to face the next biggest challenge of his NBA career somewhere else. Durant has been linked to several NBA teams who could create a maximum salary cap space next summer, including the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers. However, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, whether Durant re-signs with the Warriors or not, Golden State’s “No. 1 offseason priority” should be keeping Klay Thompson.
“The first thing they must do is to make sure Klay Thompson re-signs. It could be argued that keeping Thompson should be the Warriors’ No. 1 offseason priority no matter what happens to Durant. The Warriors need to give Thompson a hug, tell him again that they love him and give him a contract offer that doesn’t encourage him to look around. Currently, Thompson makes below the max, and because he signed before the 2016 cap spike, his $19 million salary represents one of the great bargains in the league.”
Come to see Klay Thompson watch four dunks vs the Nuggets. Stay to see Klay text Zaza Pachulia about it in the middle of his interview https://t.co/Tp0AEwhbq5— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 16, 2019
The departure of Kevin Durant won’t take away the Warriors’ status as a legitimate title contender as long as they have the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Unlike Durant, Thompson has said on numerous occasions that he wants to be a “Warrior for life.” However, the Warriors should be willing to offer a max contract if they don’t want Thompson to look somewhere else in the 2019 NBA free agency.
Once they succeed to re-sign Klay Thompson, Windhorst suggested that the Warriors should make a decision regarding Draymond Green’s future with the team. Since the 2018 NBA offseason, Green has been expressing his desire to sign a massive contract extension with the Warriors. However, with his current performance, it is less likely that Green will be receiving a lucrative offer from the Warriors next summer.