After the 2018-19 NBA season officially came to an end, Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson became one of the most coveted superstars on the free agency market. Unfortunately for NBA teams who were interested in getting his service, Thompson immediately signed a five-year, $190 million contract with the Warriors as soon as the 2019 NBA free agency started. Even during the regular season, Thompson said on numerous occasions that he intended to re-sign and finish his NBA career with the Warriors.
Weeks before the 2019 NBA free agency, Warriors owner Joe Lacob also expressed his willingness to spend a huge amount of money just to keep their championship core intact. However, in his recent article, Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report revealed that some of the Warriors’ minority owners tried to explore the possibility of giving Thompson less than the max.
However, the Warriors’ minority owners reportedly “abandoned” the idea out of fear they would lose Klay Thompson to the Los Angeles Lakers or the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2019 NBA free agency.
“Several minority owners with the Warriors floated the idea of seeing if Thompson might give the team a hometown discount, a league source says, but abandoned it over fear he’d jump to the Clippers or Los Angeles Lakers. The consensus is that Thompson is an ideal fit next to Steph Curry as an outstanding catch-and-shoot threat as well as a premier defender, but if his max contract makes it too expensive to keep the Warriors’ other elite defender, Draymond Green, are Curry and Thompson good enough to be the two-man nucleus of another championship squad?”
— SFGate (@SFGate) July 12, 2019
Klay Thompson’s contract negotiation with the Warriors this summer may have gone smooth, but things could have been different if the minority owners pushed through with their plan to offer him less than the max. If the Warriors didn’t give him a max contract, Thompson might have considered listening to free agency pitches from other NBA teams. Like Kevin Durant, he might also end up leaving the Warriors as an unrestricted free agent. Luckily, the Warriors immediately realized the potential consequence of lowballing the All-Star shooting guard.
The departure of Kevin Durant has undeniably affected the Warriors’ chance of reclaiming the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, with the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Warriors remain a legitimate threat in the deep Western Conference. Also, it is worth noting that the Warriors didn’t lose Durant in free agency without getting anything in return. In a sign-and-trade deal with the Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors acquired All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell in exchange for Durant.