Western Notes: Thompson, Kobe, Fesenko

Klay Thompson agreed that the starting salary in his extension with the Warriors couldn’t escalate past the current $15.5MM projection for next season’s 25% maximum salary, even if the max ends up coming in higher, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports. That means the deal will be no more lucrative than $69MM over four years, and Lowe heard from a couple of agents who believe the Warriors acted unfairly in the way they structured Thompson’s deal (Twitter link). Still, it doesn’t appear that it will end up having been a sacrifice for Thompson, since it’s unlikely next year’s salary cap, to which maximum salaries are tied, will reflect any of the revenue from the league’s new $24 billion TV deal, according to Lowe. The league’s salary cap projections for 2015/16 remain around $66-68MM as league office execs favor a gradual phase-in of the TV money that wouldn’t start until 2016, Lowe writes. There’s more on Thompson and the Warriors amid the latest from Western Conference:

  • The promise of future production, expendability, strong character and the ability to attract fans are a few of the qualities that current and former team executives tell Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher they believe players who sign maximum-salary contracts should possess. All of those execs agree that Thompson is a max player, but their opinions are mixed on Kawhi Leonard, to whom the Spurs decided against giving a max extension.
  • Kobe Bryant‘s two-year, $48.5MM extension looks like an albatross for the 0-5 Lakers, but Warriors executive and part-owner Jerry West doesn’t agree, as he told KNBR radio, “Whatever they’re paying, he’s earned it,” West said, as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group notes (Twitter link).
  • Timberwolves camp cut Kyrylo Fesenko has inked with Avtodor of Russia, the team announced (translation via David Pick of Eurobasket.com, on Twitter).

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