The Warriors have made it clear signing Klay Thompson to a contract extension is one of the team’s top priorities.
“My understanding is that they have opened contract extension talks with Klay Thompson,” Shelburne told host Zach Lowe. “This is a slow process. This idea that he’s been eligible for awhile and they haven’t done anything … no, they’ve started talking. They’ve exchanged proposals. There’s no hurry to these discussions. The optionality goes both ways.
“Not necessarily he’s trying to leave, but just the optionality that he didn’t have a great year last year. It behooves him to have a great year this year and he becomes more valuable if he does.”
Thompson is entering the final season of his five-year, $190 million contract and got off to a slow start at the beginning of the 2022-23 NBA season. But he found his shot as the regular-season campaign wore on, proving he’s years away from retirement despite a lackluster playoff showing.
The Warriors certainly will be looking for a discount this time around after awarding Thompson a max contract as he rehabbed from back-to-back lower leg injuries in 2019. And while there’s still plenty of time to work out a new deal — and for Thompson to increase his worth through his performance — both Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. and owner Joe Lacob expect the lifelong Warrior to remain with Golden State.
“I do,” Lacob told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on “The TK Show” when asked if he expects Thompson to be back with the Warriors after the 2023-24 season. “Look, we’ve had some very brief discussions at this point with his agent, but they’re very, very early. I think we’re all still adjusting to figuring out what our financial situation is, our cap space situation.
“They’re going to, from the players’ side, logically have to attest to what the free agent market might be because they’ve earned the right to be free agents if they’ve played out their contracts. And they have to look and see what options they might have. So I think there’s a little bit of that going on at this point, but I fully expect we will have some substantial discussions soon. And we’ll see if we can put something together that allows Klay to be here for a long time, which we clearly would like him to be.”
Golden State signed Draymond Green to a four-year, $100 million contract this summer after the forward explored free agency himself. And Shelburne believes the Warriors’ faith in Green and their longtime core could signal what’s to come for Thompson.
“They are definitely open to the idea of doing [an extension] because they’ve opened discussions with Klay Thompson,” Shelburne said. “I think the years will probably be similar to what Draymond Green signed, which was a four-year deal. I think it will probably be similar. I don’t know where they’ll land on team option, player option. The money is going to be the question. And how that fits with the new CBA, the restriction that implies. I know that the Warriors feel very strongly about keeping Klay Thompson and Draymond Green alongside Steph Curry.”
While the goal appears to be keeping Golden State’s championship group intact, it remains to be seen how Thompson’s future in the Bay will unfold.