Though they failed to convince Kevin Durant to stay, the Golden State Warriors succeeded to bring Klay Thompson back by signing him on a five-year, $190 million maximum contract in the 2019 NBA free agency. The departure of Durant will undeniably have a huge effect on the Warriors’ chances of reclaiming the NBA championship title next season, but as long as they have the core of Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, Golden State will remain a legitimate threat in the deep Western Conference.
However, the Warriors won’t be at full strength when the 2019-20 NBA season officially starts as Klay Thompson will be needing more time to recover from the torn ACL he sustained during the 2019 NBA Finals. In a recent appearance on NBC Sports Bay Area Insider podcast, Klay Thompson’s father, Mychal Thompson, gave a major update on the Warriors’ shooting guard’s injury.
“He’s walking normally and he’s very optimistic and enthusiastic about getting back late next season,” Thompson said, as quoted by NBC Sports‘s Monte Poole. “Once he gets back up to the bay and is around the team and he’s working out… he probably won’t be on the court doing fullcourt drills until late December or January. So, he’s got quite a ways to go. The main thing is to stay dedicated and diligent in your rehab and just continue to work hard and keep that motivation to get back on the court with his teammates.”
Klay Thompson will probably always be closely linked to Steph Curry, but he won't be an afterthought in an era filled with elite players. https://t.co/oNWcO37bi7
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) August 20, 2019
Though most NBA players that went down with ACL injury struggled to bring back their former game, Mychal Thompson is very optimistic that Klay Thompson could still return to being an All-Star caliber player once he is 100 percent healthy. The elder Thompson claimed that every doctor assured his son he will “come back as good as ever.” Thompson’s recovery will be vital for the Warriors, especially now that new powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers are aiming to challenge them for the Western Conference supremacy.
In the 2019 NBA free agency, the Warriors have managed to acquire a player who could serve as Stephen Curry’s temporary backcourt partner while Klay Thompson is recovering from injury. In a sign-and-trade deal with the Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors received All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell in exchange for Kevin Durant. Russell may not be as good as Durant right now, but he could still fill the void Durant left on the offensive end of the floor. Last season, Russell averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists and 1.2 steals while shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from beyond the arc.