Belinelli, Johnson show players don't ring-chase as much as we think


Belinelli, Johnson show players don't ring-chase as much as we think

The Golden State Warriors have had a bit of a week so far, and it’s only Monday.

They lost chief marketer Chip Bowers to the Miami Marlins, so he can experience the magic of running the team’s revenue generation efforts – and if you know the Marlins, you know that revenue is a perpetual issue.

But marketing wizards come and go. What is more compelling is the way that the two leading buyout contract candidates they allegedly sought, Joe Johnson and Marco Belinelli, opted to play elsewhere – Johnson in Houston and Belinelli with Philadelphia.

Which leads to one question, and one alone. Are ring-chasers a rarer commodity than we think?

Clearly Johnson and Belinelli, the latter a former Warrior in the Don Nelson’s barbed tongue era, found the idea of a likely ring eminently resistable. Johnson may think the Rockets are primed to beat Golden State in a series, but the buyout from Sacramento and the $776,000 he will get as a 10-year veteran has been adjudged to be worth punching uphill in May, and the same is true of Belinelli, who goes to the last playoff team in the East and, assuming that remains the same, an opening-round series with either Toronto or Boston.

Players in Johnson’s or Belinelli’s positions (and for that matter, Brandan Wright, who also will sign with Houston), though, don’t ring-chase as much as we think they do. They seek out playing time and a chance to matter, either for a future contract or just because the team they agreed to play for showed the most desire to have them.

In other words, even a team with as presumably clear a road to Paradeville as Golden State doesn’t have everything for everybody. They could still chase other buyout class members, like Tony Allen as a perhaps, but let’s consider the words of Houston general brainbox Daryl Morey before we realize that the Warriors either don’t need the market or don’t need it enough.

“For teams who are already loaded, it's very hard to improve the rotations,” Morey said. “Most teams were in future mode. Those are the deals that happened.”

Besides, you secretly believe in Omri Casspi and Nick Young even now, and you always will.


Mychal Thompson wants Klay to emulate James Harden in one aspect in 2018-19

Mychal Thompson wants Klay to emulate James Harden in one aspect in 2018-19

Klay Thompson is a well-rounded, versatile player. He shot 52.6 percent from 2-point range last season. He shot 44 percent from 3-point range. He made 83.7 percent of his free throws. He averaged 2.5 assists per game. He's the Warriors' best perimeter defender.

There's not a noticeable weakness to his game.

But his father Mychal spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler on Saturday to talk about what kind of differences we'll see in Klay will be during the 2018-19 season and he shared the goal he's set for his son.

"I think you'll see a hungrier player. He's going to try to get more versatile, try to get to the basket a little more, more free throws, being more efficient on offense that way. I always tell him, try to make it a goal to shoot eight (free throws) a game. Eight or 10, like James Harden does," Mychal Thompson told Ostler.

Thompson attempted a career low 1.3 free throw attempts last season. His high-water mark was 3.3 free throw attempts per game during the 2014-15 season. By comparison, Harden attempted 10.1 free throw attempts last season and has surpassed 10 attempts per game in five of the last six seasons.

Of course, the elder Thompson was asked about his son's free agency next summer. Klay told the Bay Area News Group on Saturday that he wants to remain with the Warriors for the rest of his career. His father said the same thing at the Thompson Family Foundation's charity golf tournament on Saturday.

“Oh yeah, you can mark it down. Klay’s going to retire in the Warriors’ uniform. He’s going to play at Chase Center (the Warriors’ new arena, opening in 2019), and he’s not going to be at Chase Center as a visiting player, he’s going to be a Warrior for the next seven or eight years," Mychal said according to The Chronicle.

Klay Thompson addresses impending free agency: 'Number one on my list...'

Klay Thompson addresses impending free agency: 'Number one on my list...'

Editor's Note: The above video is from June 6, 2018, after the Warriors beat the Cavs in Game 3 in the NBA Finals.

With the 2018 offseason wrapping up, the talk surrounding the Warriors will shift to next summer's free agency of All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson.

Thompson and his father Mychal have said several times during the last few months (see above video) that their intention is stay with the Warriors long-term. But that's not stopping speculation that the seven-year veteran may bolt the Warriors following his eighth season.

On Saturday night, Thompson reiterated his desire to remain with the Warriors in an interview with the Bay Area News Group.

“I’ve said it many times before: I would like to be a Warrior for life. Contract negotiations are way down the line. But I think we all have the same interest. I would love to be here for the rest of my career,” Thompson told Mark Medina.

Pressed on the possibility of signing an extension with the Warriors before he hits the open market, Thompson left the door slightly ajar by offering this:

“It’s tough to say. I’d definitely be interested. But at the end of the day, I’m going to be a free agent in 2019. Number one on my list would obviously be to stay with the Warriors,” Thompson told Medina.

Thompson is entering the final season of a four-year, $68.97 million contract. He will make $18,988 million for the 2018-19 season.