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Warriors Star Tries Valiantly to Downplay Offseason Rift

Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson

After Klay Thompson scrubbed his social media of as much Golden State Warriors-related content as he could find, pandemonium ensued. The fans, ever volatile, were whipped into a frenzy. The ravenous media rushed to write-up a story. Even his teammates felt the need to chime in.

Well, at least one.

Addressing the situation on his eponymous podcast, Warriors star Draymond Green says, “I know all of you were probably looking forward to me talking about Klay unfollowing the Warriors and deleting some (Instagram) posts or something. I had no idea that happened.”

“…It’s f****** hilarious… I think that’s comical,” he claims. “I know you all want somebody’s feelings to be hurt or something. It ain’t that. Ain’t never going to be that. That’s hilarious.”

Draymond Green Valiantly Attempts to Downplay Offseason Rift

Thompson’s teammates likely do not harbor any ill-will towards him for his actions.

For one, they know more than anyone how much the franchise –and the core of their dynasty –means to him. Furthermore, it’s not as if Thompson’s sitting at the bargaining table with them. Thompson is having trouble securing the contract that he wants from the front office. To take it a step further, Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy and director of basketball operations Chuck Hayes are subject to the demands of team governors Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber, as they’re the ones cutting the check. Ultimately, the last people that Thompson would have a problem with are his teammates.

Still, despite Green’s attempts to take brush off Thompson’s passive aggressive negotiation approach, it’s clear that there’s trouble brewing in Golden State. If the Warriors respected Thompson the way they once did, the situation wouldn’t be getting this ugly.

With that said, Thompson is a depreciating asset on the surface. His best skill is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Nonetheless, Thompson’s rise was about more than his outside shooting; he was also among the best perimeter defenders. Due to the decline in his athletic ability, that’s no longer the case. As a result, his free market value is that of a 3-point specialist, albeit one with championship experience. From that standpoint, the two-year, $48 million contract extension they offered him prior to the season was fair.

However, his value to the Warriors is much more than that. A mainstay in Golden State’s rotation for more than a decade, he’s integral to the team’s chemistry in the locker room and on the court. If the Warriors aren’t willing to pay him a bit more after all that he’s done for the franchise, it makes sense for there to be a rift.

The $68 Million Question

There is one small matter though.

In the two seasons that Thompson didn’t play due to injury (2019-20 and 2020-21), he earned $68.1 million. The Warriors are unlikely to have forgotten that. Put another way, the front office may not feel a need to overpay to keep a player who was still getting his checks while sitting at home. From that perspective, Thompson doesn’t look like he’s justified. He just looks greedy.

With the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Philadelphia 76ers all having various levels of interest in the five-time All-Star, Thompson may very well be offered a contract he finds reasonable. That’s the case even if he’s using these teams for leverage in his contract negotiations with Golden State.

Yet, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Thompson won’t have the same level of influence or admiration with those organizations as he does with the Warriors. A sizable contract from Golden State could lead to serious limitations in how they build their roster from that point forward.

Thompson’s said to be good at poker, but will he overplay his hand?


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