The Golden State Warriors are the latest basketball dynasty, but they could look drastically different at the start of the 2019 season. NBA free agency has been the main topic of discussion around the team all season, as Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will both have opportunities to enter the market as unrestricted free agents.
While a lot of the attention has been placed on Kevin Durant (including a very public spat between him and Draymond Green earlier in the regular season), Warriors fans should be more concerned with the future of the team if Klay Thompson isn’t in the fold.
Many NBA experts think Thompson will re-sign with the Warriors, and it would be a smart choice if he wants to focus solely on winning and staying in an excellent basketball culture.
However, it isn’t set in stone on either end. The Warriors would be foolish to split up the Splash Brothers and let arguably the best defensive shooting guard in the NBA walk away for nothing. Resigning Klay Thompson is the one thing the Warriors need to do during NBA free agency, even if they don’t do anything else.
Regular season stats
It’s easy to overlook since he plays alongside the record-setting Stephen Curry, but Thompson can light up the scoreboard at any given moment. He is a career 42% shooter from behind the arc while averaging more than 19 points per game for his career. He’s also an excellent defender and is a two-time member of the All-NBA team. Thompson also steps things up during the playoffs and averaged 18 points per game through three rounds of the 2019 NBA playoffs.
If Golden State can take out the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals and go on to win their fourth championship in five years, it will only help Thompson’s Hall of Fame resume. The Warriors have been a buzzsaw since taking off under head coach Steve Kerr, and they were an athletic LeBron James chase-down block away from winning five titles in a row.
Klay Thompson has also stepped up when there have been injuries to Curry and Kevin Durant, the two Golden State superstars that normally make the offense go at a breakneck pace. Aside from being a deadly shooter and a lockdown defender, Thompson is the kind of player who helps his team on and off the court.
Thompson set the single-game record for most points in a quarter with 37, and he also has the record for most 3-pointers in a game with 14. When you have a reliable shooter who doesn’t need to play isolation ball to get hot, it makes the offense that much harder to stop. It’s clear he meshes well with Curry, who the Warriors have under contract through 2021-22, and keeping the Splash Brothers duo intact is the key move they need to make during free agency.
Other teams in play
If Thompson turns down the max deal the Warriors can offer, what teams should be at the top of his wish list? We think the Clippers and Lakers will both go after him, as he can fit in well with both rosters. A 1-2 punch of LeBron James Klay Thompson would give the Lakers a lineup that can score from the outside and also attack the paint at will.
If he joined the Clippers, then there will probably be another superstar in tow, perhaps Kawhi Leonard or Kemba Walker? A lineup with Thompson, Patrick Beverley, and another superstar could make the Clippers a top-four seed in the conference.
Outside of California, you have to believe the Knicks will be a strong contender with their massive amount of cap space, but don’t count out the Nets. They have an All-Star in the backcourt in D’Angelo Russell, and they’re on track to be the next team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
Where do you think Klay Thompson ends up?
Looking at everything Klay Thompson has accomplished in a Golden State uniform, do you think he will re-sign with the team or join another squad during free agency? The Warriors can offer him the most money and the best shot at winning a title, but maybe he’s ready for a new challenge with a new team while he still has a few prime years left.