Klay Thompson, Warriors locked in NBA free agency showdown – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

SAN FRANCISCO — A longtime NBA agent told me years ago, during the Warriors’ run, that Golden State CEO Joe Lacob might be the most competitive owner in the league. He wants to win “everything.”

Not just tournaments, but also contract negotiations.

That assertion has proven more credible over the years, and it highlights the increasingly tense issue for the Warriors and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Klay Thompson.

The Warriors are sincere in their desire to keep Thompson, but on terms they consider good value. Lacob has proven that he will pay, but he has also proven that he wants to win the investment.

“We want him back,” Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy said Monday in his pre-NBA news conference. “We’ve said that all along. We hope he comes back. But in terms of the details and the discussions and those kinds of things, I think it’s important to keep those things in-house. When we figure it all out, we’ll have news for you.”

Meanwhile, Golden State is patient with form that only comes when it believes there is a reasonable chance of a reward.

They are willing to wait to let Thompson and his representatives explore the market and see what is available. The Warriors have drawn a line in the sand and will not voluntarily cross it. They won’t even think about crossing it unless provoked, at which time they may reset things.

may be.

It’s a form of chicken, a game in which two drivers, for example, set out on a collision course to see which one moves to avoid the other. However, this includes two teams with clear differences that will remain until one of them concedes.

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Despite Thompson’s tremendous contributions in the greatest years the franchise has ever seen, this strategy is risky but logical. The Warriors don’t know Klay’s exact market value, and neither does Thompson’s team. It is known that the two parties do not agree.

It has also become clear that the warmth of past glory is important, but not a deciding factor for either side.

“I think I’m rational, I’m rational,” Dunleavy said. “That’s the way I’ll always do it. But to tell someone like Klay Thompson, who has meant so much to this franchise, to completely strip it of emotion, I think that’s almost impossible.

“But this is a business. We’ll talk through things and continue to talk through things. We’re optimistic, but we’ll see. We’ve got to figure things out.”

From a purely business standpoint, the Warriors view the five-time All-Star and one-time All-Defensive Team selection as unlikely to recapture that distinction. Thompson was 29 years old when he received either of these honors. Five years and two devastating injuries later, he no longer possesses the talent that called for such lofty accolades.

Golden State watched Thompson’s last 2.5 seasons and concluded that he was no longer a “maximum” player but could still make a significant contribution to a winning team. He can still drop 40 points in a given game, but his scoring bouts are less frequent. He can provide decent defense in some games, but he can no longer provide a scorer from the perimeter.

Thompson, according to multiple league sources, wants a three-year contract and a chance to win a fifth NBA championship. That’s why a potential contender — the Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, and Philadelphia 76ers, to name a few — would be interested.

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The Warriors consider themselves a contender, but they want to see how far other teams will go to convince Thompson to leave the franchise that drafted him 13 years ago. They don’t necessarily think any team will wave a nine-figure purse under their chin.

If Klay is determined to leave, Golden State won’t be able to stop him. If he’s willing to stay on acceptable financial terms while also embracing the sixth man role, the Warriors will open their arms with a fair proposal.

“Taking all of those things into consideration is what’s most important,” Dunleavy said. “And that’s what happened, and what we’re looking at. That’s as simple as it gets.

“There’s probably varying degrees of what that value is, but that’s on us and I have to figure out what’s the right amount for our team.”

The right amount is regardless of the Golden State’s luxury tax bill. It’s hardly a question of where Thompson will fit within the team’s salary structure.

The right amount, as the Warriors have determined, is what holds Thompson back while also allowing Lacob and Dunleavy to walk away feeling successful.

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