After a bittersweet draft night and a solely sour morning after, the clock is ticking for the Warriors to use their $17.2 million traded player exception.
Golden State has until Nov. 23 to use the exception, which was created when the Warriors traded Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies last summer. General manager and president of basketball operations Bob Myers kept his cards close when he was asked about the exception a week before the draft, but that was before star shooting guard Thompson sustained a right leg injury that the Warriors confirmed Thursday morning was a torn Achilles tendon. The injury is expected to sideline Thompson for the entire 2020-21 season.
Myers admitted Wednesday night the severity of Thompson's injury would determine how the Warriors use it.
"We have the green light to do that," Myers said of the exception in a video conference call with reporters after the draft. "We had it. We have it, Klay or no Klay, depending on what we hear. So, it's there. Gotta find a way to make it work for us. Certainly, once we hear more tomorrow, that might affect it, it might not. We'll see. It may allow us to be more aggressive, but something has to make sense."
Myers told reporters he and the Warriors' front office would begin formulating plans for free agency soon after his media availability Wednesday night. Golden State checked off a major box on its offseason to-do list by drafting former Memphis center James Wiseman with the No. 2 overall pick, and sources told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that the Warriors have their eyes on "at least" four free-agent big men.
They'll also be on the lookout for players to replace Thompson, following the news of his injury.
"I think we needed wing depth anyway," Myers said Wednesday night, prior to Thompson's diagnosis. "And so we'll look there anyway, no matter what."
As a team already over the salary cap and paying the luxury tax, the Warriors have access to the taxpayer's mid-level exception, just over $5.7 million, as well as the veteran's minimum, which slides based on experience. ESPN's Bobby Marks reported Thursday that the Warriors also will apply to use the disabled player exception, allowing them to acquire a player whose salary is worth up to $9.3 million.
The Warriors surely will try to use every cent of the exceptions at their disposal in an effort to fill the void left by the five-time All-Star's devastating injury, but overcoming Thompson's loss is a price that can't easily be paid.