NBA exec says Klay Thompson won’t leave Warriors but links him to 2 Eastern Conference teams

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Klay Thompson’s role with the Golden State Warriors has changed this season, and though it reportedly is unlikely that alone will cause him to leave the franchise, one NBA executive is speculating where he might land if the sides do decide to part ways.

“Klay’s not going anywhere,” the executive predicted to HoopsHype. “The Warriors can’t let him walk. He’s a four-time champion, and they can’t really replace him. At some point, if a player isn’t getting the job done and still wants to play as he gets older, you’d come off the bench, and he’s doing that while playing better. Maybe they tie his deal to Steph’s (Stephen Curry). Klay’s value is in the $20-25 million range. I think other teams would sign him. If you’re Detroit, wouldn’t you love that level of maturity and experience? Monty Williams wants a grown-up. If you’re the [Orlando] Magic, don’t you want a grown-up? They need a legitimate shooting guard. Jalen Suggs is a combo guard. I think Gary Harris could be gone this summer. Let the point guard position be a combination of Anthony Black, Suggs and Cole Anthony. Orlando likes size, which Klay has, and he’d give them shooting.”

Whether a four-time NBA champion like Thompson would be willing to play out his waning years with a team like the Detroit Pistons or Magic remains to be seen.

Detroit is 10-52 this season and has made the playoffs just once in the past seven seasons. The Pistons last won a playoff series in 2008. Orlando at 37-26 is in fourth place in the Eastern Conference this season but has not won a playoff series since 2010 and has never won an NBA championship.

Thompson reportedly turned down a two-year, $48 million contract extension from the Warriors this offseason. Paul Pierce recently warned that they should do what they can to keep Thompson, Curry and Draymond Green together to avoid what happened to the Boston Celtics when Ray Allen left Pierce and Kevin Garnett to join the Miami Heat.

The Warriors may not be what they once were but may have a long-shot chance to reach the NBA Finals this season as their play has improved recently. Coincidentally, it has come with Thompson adapting to his new role as a reserve.

After starting every NBA regular season game he has played in for his previous nine seasons plus the beginning of this one, the 34-year-old has come off the bench in eight of his past 10 appearances. Golden State has gone 7-3 in those games to raise its overall record to 33-29.

In 51 starts this season, he is averaging 16.7 points per game while shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from 3-point range. In eight games coming off the bench, he is averaging 18.8 points per game while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from 3-point range.

The Warriors are in ninth place in the Western Conference entering league play on Friday. They have two upcoming games against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday and Monday.

Share This Article
Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.