Klay Thompson

Warriors Notes: Green, Durant, Curry, Russell

Draymond Green still considers Kevin Durant to be a close friend, despite their highly publicized confrontation last November and Durant’s decision to leave Golden State in free agency. In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that aired today on “The Jump” (video link), Green talks about the success they had with the Warriors and says he learned that Durant was joining the Nets at the same time everyone else did.

“He don’t owe it to me to tell me before everybody else,” Green said. “We did what we had to do. The thing that people forget about in this league is this is our lives. I’m not about to go to Kevin Durant and say, ‘Hey Kevin, can I get my fiancé pregnant?’ But that’s my life. I’m sorry but that’s my life. Am I supposed to come to you and A) Let you know that that’s what I wanna do? Or B) Ask you for permission? No. So I found out when everybody else found out, which is exactly how it should be.”

Green also said he talked to Durant yesterday and still thinks of him as “my brother.” He’s grateful for what they accomplished as teammates, including two titles and a loss in this year’s Finals, calling it “a major success.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Green also touched on the four-year, $99.7MM contract extension he signed last week. Although he might have earned more on the open market, he’s happy to be tied to the Warriors through the end of the 2023/24 season. He also considers it validation for the aggressive way he likes to play the game. “This contract tells you that all the garbage that you tried to say about me — arguing with Kevin or about the things with Steve Kerr or about the suspension (in the 2016 NBA Finals) — it just tells you that there was a method to that madness,” Green said.
  • This summer’s roster upheaval has left Stephen Curry as the Warriors’ oldest player for the first time in his career, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. A few months ago, Curry was the fifth oldest, but the team parted with five players who were past their 30th birthday.
  • With D’Angelo Russell joining the league’s most celebrated backcourt, Curry tells Slater that a three-guard approach can be successful once Klay Thompson returns from a torn ACL. “You get creative on how you mix up matchups, create good offense throughout the entire game,” Curry said. “Even defensively, I know there’s a lot of talk about that, our size, but the competitive fire will come out and find ways to get it done on that end of the floor.”

Klay Thompson Talks New Contract, ACL Recovery, More

Klay Thompson‘s 2018/19 season came to a disappointing end on June 13, the night of Game 6 of the NBA Finals. With the Warriors battling to stay alive and extend the series, Thompson went down with a knee injury that was later diagnosed as a torn ACL. The Warriors ultimately failed to force a Game 7, falling to the Raptors later that night.

Thompson told ESPN’s Cari Champion on Thursday that it was devastating to suffer that injury and to fall short of the Warriors’ fourth title in five years, but that he was thrilled to sign a new five-year, maximum-salary contract with the team in the offseason.

“I jumped on that as soon as I could, just because the history with this team and the franchise it would be so hard to leave,” Thompson said. “And the feeling of, you know, unfinished business, getting that close in the Finals, or to the fourth championship — tasting it — just being out of reach. It’s the pain of sports, but it’s what keeps me motivated.”

In his first real interview since the end of the season, Thompson praised the Warriors’ offseason moves, referring to the acquisition of D’Angelo Russell as a move that gave “a breath of fresh life” to him and his teammates. He also addressed his knee injury, his potential recovery timetable (he doubts he’ll be back before the All-Star break), and the Warriors’ outlook going forward.

Here are a few of the highlights from Thompson, via ESPN:

On his first reaction to tearing his ACL:

“I knew I did something. But I’ve never had the severity of an ACL injury or an injury that bad. So me, personally, I didn’t think it was that bad, initially. My adrenaline was so high, being Game 6, whatever. I thought I sprained my knee; that’s all I thought it was. But when I went back to the locker room, it swelled up a lot, didn’t feel right. It’s just not a good feeling when you feel helpless and the team’s out there competing.”

On his recovery timetable:

“I’ve heard varying opinions about [it], especially medically, I don’t want to rush it ’cause I want to play until I’m 38, 39, 40 years old. That’s my plan, especially because the way I can shoot the ball. I would love to see the floor this season. I don’t know when that is.”

On the perception that the Warriors’ dynasty has come to an end:

“To say the dynasty is over I think is a little ignorant, ’cause I think I’m going to come back 100 percent — I think I’m going to come back even better and more athletic. And it would not be smart to count the Dubs out. That’s all I tell people, especially with the chemistry we still have and our foundation still being there, I think we have the ability to continue this run.”

Pacific Notes: Ballmer, Wright, West, Warriors

Steve Ballmer’s actions over the past year should end any speculation that he has a long-term strategy to move the Clippers to Seattle, writes Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times. Ballmer has strong ties to the Pacific Northwest, where he made his fortune as CEO of Microsoft. He tried to buy the SuperSonics in 2008 and had a deal in place to move the Kings to Seattle in 2013 before it fell through.

However, Ballmer recognizes that the Clippers would drop in value if they were moved from the nation’s second-largest media market and has been taking steps to ensure their long-term future in Los Angeles. The team formally announced plans Thursday for a new 18,500-seat arena in Inglewood that will be built without public money. Ballmer also approved two bold moves this summer to acquire Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, making the Clippers legitimate contenders for the NBA title.

“We’re not moving the team to Seattle,” Ballmer declared recently. “We’re building a new billion-dollar-plus home in Inglewood.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers made an addition to their coaching staff this week by hiring Todd Wright, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Wright served as head of strength and conditioning as well as an assistant coach for the Sixers for the past four seasons.
  • The Lakers will part with director of player personnel Ryan West, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic (Twitter link). The son of NBA legend Jerry West had been with the team since he was hired as a scout in 2009 and is given credit for identifying D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson in their respective drafts. West’s departure was a mutual decision that was reached in the past few days, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. His contract had expired and he and the organization agreed that he had “reached a ceiling” in his current role.
  • Salary cap expert David Kelly, who serves as general counsel for the Warriors, shares his perspective on an eventful offseason with Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Klay Thompson had assured Golden State officials that he was staying, which eliminated one worry when they got official notice that Kevin Durant was leaving for the Nets. The focus immediately shifted to Russell, whom the team had targeted as a potential option several months before. Kelly had to work through a complex series of maneuvers before a sign-and-trade with Brooklyn could be legally completed.

Klay Thompson Signs Five-Year Max Deal With Warriors

JULY 10: Thompson’s five-year, maximum-salary contract is now official, the Warriors announced in a press release.

JULY 1: Wojnarowski provides another update on Thompson’s new contract, tweeting that it includes a 15% trade bonus. Trade bonuses can’t push a player’s salary beyond his max, so Klay wouldn’t receive it in the unlikely event he’s traded this season. That could change down the road.

JUNE 30: The Warriors and Thompson have a “done deal” in place, three sources confirm to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). A source tells Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link) that it’s a standard five-year deal with no options and no no-trade clause.

JUNE 29: The Warriors and Thompson plan to reach an agreement on a five-year max deal shortly after free agency begins on Sunday, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

JUNE 28: The Warriors are planning to offer All-Star guard Klay Thompson a five-year, maximum-salary contract when free agency opens on Sunday, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, that offer will likely accelerate Thompson’s free agency, as the two sides aren’t expected to take long to reach an agreement.

Reports this week have indicated that Thompson had considered meeting with the Lakers and Clippers if the Warriors didn’t put that five-year offer (worth a projected $189.66MM) on the table right away. However, there has been no indication – even after Thompson tore his ACL – that Golden State was wavering on making that commitment.

According to Wojnarowski, several teams that had Thompson on their wish lists have given up hope on that possibility in recent days, becoming convinced that the sharpshooter will remain in the Bay Area.

An ESPN report this morning suggested that Thompson’s camp might have been using those Los Angeles teams to create leverage to ask the Warriors for a fifth-year player option or a no-trade clause. Stephen Curry didn’t get either of those perks in his own five-year, maximum-salary deal, so Golden State may be reluctant to give them to Thompson. At this point, it’s not clear whether or not Klay’s camp intends to push for either one.

If the Warriors can lock up Thompson, they’ll be halfway to keeping their core intact for the 2019/20 season. The team also reportedly plans to offer a five-year maximum-salary (worth a projected $221MM+) to Kevin Durant.

[UPDATE: Durant has committed to the Nets]

Both Thompson and Durant – who is recovering from a ruptured Achilles – are expected to miss most or all of next season, but would be ready to go for 2020/21.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Klay Thompson Undergoes ACL Surgery

Nearly three weeks after he suffered a torn ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Warriors guard Klay Thompson has undergone successful surgery to repair the injury, a league source ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The procedure was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, per Wojnarowski.

A recovery timeline for Thompson has not yet been established, but agent Greg Lawrence told Wojnarowski (Twitter links) that he anticipates the process to take about five to seven months, though he later clarified that a five-month timeline may be aggressive.

“While we are optimistic on a return as quickly as possible, Klay and the team are committed to taking the necessary time with the process,” Lawrence said.

Mark Medina of The Mercury News (Twitter link) estimates a six-to-nine month timeline. Either way, Thompson should have a good chance to return before the end of the 2019/20 season.

Thompson and the Warriors agreed to terms this week on a five-year, maximum-salary contract that will run through the 2023/24 season, so the team figures to be patient with the sharpshooter’s recovery, with an eye toward keeping him healthy for the long term.

Free Agent Rumors: Klay, Horford, Brogdon, Jordan

The Warriors have long hinted that they plan to offer Klay Thompson a five-year, maximum-salary deal, and there have been no signals that they’ll change that stance in the wake of Thompson’s torn ACL. So why are there rumblings about Thompson potentially meeting with other teams if the Warriors don’t put that offer on the table right away?

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst, there are some “outstanding issues” that could force Thompson to try to generate some added leverage. Stephen Curry‘s five-year deal with the Warriors didn’t include a fifth-year opt-out or a no-trade clause, setting a precedent for what Golden State’s five-year max deals might look like going forward, as the ESPN duo notes. If Thompson prioritizes a player option or a no-trade clause, talking to the Lakers and/or Clippers may be his best chance to create a little extra leverage with the Warriors.

Elsewhere on the Warriors front, Draymond Green is eligible for a contract extension and is open to discussing a new deal before he reaches free agency in 2020, sources tell ESPN. Those talks are expected to happen later in the offseason, though I’d be surprised if they get something done, since Green could earn more in free agency.

Here’s more from Shelburne and Windhorst on the 2019 free agent class:

  • The Sixers and Kings are among the potential suitors for Al Horford, according to ESPN’s report. Sacramento, in particular, has a clear path to making Horford a big offer, but the club is believed to have other centers – including Brook Lopez and Nikola Vucevic – on its list of potential targets, per ESPN.
  • League executives believe a team may look to pry Malcolm Brogdon away from the Bucks by putting together an offer sheet that starts at a high number and descends in later seasons, according to Shelburne and Windhorst. A player option and various bonuses could also be added to such an offer sheet, the ESPN duo adds, identifying the Bulls, Suns, Mavericks, and Celtics (if they don’t get Kemba Walker) as possible suitors for Brogdon.
  • The Bucks will almost certainly waive George Hill to avoid guaranteeing his $19MM salary, but there’s mutual interest in a new deal between the two sides, especially if the club doesn’t retain Brogdon, according to ESPN.
  • DeAndre Jordan is believed to have interest in playing in Los Angeles again, sources tell ESPN. Either the Clippers or Lakers could be a fit for the veteran center.

Clippers, Lakers Contenders For Klay Thompson If Warriors Don’t Offer Full Max

Klay Thompson is expecting the Warriors to offer him a full max contract once free agency begins on Sunday. Should the Warriors either delay their offer or offer less than the max, Thompson will listen to pitches from the Lakers and Clippers, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets.

It was previously reported that the shooting guard would give the Clippers some attention if the Warriors don’t have the offer ready for him, but now the Lakers have been added to his list of fallback max options.

LeBron James‘ team amended the Anthony Davis trade agreement earlier today, which helped the club create additional cap room. Los Angeles projects to have roughly $32M in cap space, putting the team about $700K short of being able to offer a full max for a player with Thompson’s experience.

Thompson, who tore his ACL during the NBA Finals, is eligible for a five-year max deal worth approximately $190MM. Should he sign elsewhere, he’d be limited to a four-year contract worth approximately $141MM.

Despite the latest news, the five-time All-Star is still considered a strong bet to re-sign with Golden State.

Free Agent Rumors: Durant, I. Smith, Diallo, Mavs, More

While rumors of Kevin Durant‘s possible departure continue to persist, the Warriors have recently expressed some private optimism about their chances of re-signing the former MVP, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. As Amick explains, that hope stems from the fact that Golden State is the only team with the ability to make Durant a five-year, $221MM offer. That extra year and money could be a more significant factor with KD recovering from an Achilles tear.

Earlier this week, Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers indicated that the team has formal plans to talk to both Durant and Klay Thompson about new deals, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays (via Twitter). Myers also said that Thompson is expected to undergo his ACL surgery later this week.

Here’s more from around the NBA on free agency:

  • Ish Smith is among the free agent point guards who are on the Timberwolves‘ radar, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. Wolfson previously identified T.J. McConnell as a target of interest to Minnesota.
  • Cheick Diallo, who shares an agent with Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Mavs free agent target Patrick Beverley, is a potential fit for Dallas, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Diallo reportedly won’t receive a qualifying offer from New Orleans, so he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
  • Speaking of the Mavericks, team owner Mark Cuban downplayed the importance of face-to-face meetings for free agents, as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News writes. “There’s some players that want a presentation and they want the dog-and-pony show,” Cuban said. “And there’s some players, they don’t care. They have a feel and they just want to ask some questions and you don’t really have to have a meeting to do that. … It really depends on the players. I can give you a long list of players we didn’t have meetings with that we signed, and a lot of teams that didn’t have meetings and they signed people. There’s not a lot of secrets. It’s not like all of a sudden you’re going to say something they didn’t know.”
  • Although Willie Cauley-Stein‘s agent doesn’t want the Kings to give his client a qualifying offer, it wouldn’t make sense for the club to forgo that QO, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Charania’s Latest: CP3, Klay, Harris, RHJ, Randle, More

League sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic that Chris Paul never demanded a trade from the Rockets, but suggested at season’s end that he’d understand if the club decided to go in a different direction. According to Charania, Houston told Paul it remained committed to him, and he has reciprocated that commitment.

While Paul and James Harden haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, Charania hears that the two Rockets guards have been communicating since the season ended and had a positive conversation on Father’s Day.

Even if the Rockets wanted to move Paul, there would likely be no market for him, as the Rockets discovered when they quietly gauged his value in recent weeks, Charania writes.

Charania’s latest round-up at The Athletic includes several other noteworthy tidbits on 2019’s upcoming free agent period, so let’s pass along some highlights…

  • The Warriors and Klay Thompson will meet in Los Angeles at the start of free agency, per Charania. While Charania – like ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski – has heard that Thompson could speak to the Clippers if talks with Golden State break down, the Warriors and Thompson’s camp expect a quick agreement if the team puts a five-year, maximum-salary offer on the table.
  • After Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer named the Clippers as a possible suitor for Tobias Harris, Charania says the same thing, noting that the two sides still have a good relationship. Charania also adds the Pelicans – who now have significant cap room – to the list of teams expected to express interest in Harris.
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who didn’t receive a qualifying offer from Brooklyn, is expected to draw interest from the Suns, Timberwolves, and Rockets as an unrestricted free agent, reports Charania.
  • The Bulls, Knicks, and Nets are viewed as potential suitors for Julius Randle, sources tell Charania.
  • Teams in need of some help at the point guard spot – including the Suns, Bulls, Wizards, and Kings – have shown interest in Cory Joseph, says Charania.
  • If the Knicks miss out on their top free agent targets, they’ll plan on trying to sign “high-level rotation players” to one- or two-year deals, according to Charania, who suggests that Celtics RFA-to-be Terry Rozier may be one target.

Western Notes: Thompson, Spurs, Allen

Klay Thompson would be open to a meeting with the Clippers should the Warriors not present him with a max salary offer at the start of free agency, Adrian Wojnarowski said on the network’s free agency special. Thompson is expected to re-sign in Golden State.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • San Antonio could be a fit for Trevor Ariza, Jabari Young of The Athletic writes. Ariza earned $15MM last season on a one-year deal and the Spurs had interest in him last summer, Young hears. Ariza is a candidate for the mid-level exception.
  • The Spurs have kept a close eye on Amir Johnson since he played in Toronto, Young adds in the same piece. Young speculates that the 32-year-old big man could be a fit in San Antonio, citing his close relationship with DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay.
  • Grayson Allen, who was traded to the Grizzlies in the Mike Conley deal, aims to improve his defense during Summer League, as he tells David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “When I tell you I’m going to work on defense this summer, I don’t think many people picture guys in summer workouts doing defensive slides,” Allen said. “…But for me it’s going to be continuing to work on that footwork on the defensive end, getting my body in great shape, great conditioning going into summer league and the season.”