OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry spent nearly two years telling anyone willing to listen that he had no plans to test the free-agent market in 2017. Remaining true to his word, and with minimum “negotiation,” he signed a max deal last July.
Expect the same of his backcourt partner Klay Thompson.
Klay Thompson has followed a similar script to that of Curry, telling NBC Sports Bay Area last September that he wanted to remain with the Warriors in hopes of being a part of a “dynasty.”
Three months earlier, Thompson told ESPN that he’d “rather be a part of something that could leave a legacy” than shop the market for the biggest contract.
He took it a step further last October, citing the culture of the franchise as a reason he would be willing to take a discount on his contract to remain with the Warriors.
Thompson reaffirmed that early this week, telling Bleacher Report that “it would be hard for me to envision going anywhere else.”
All along, the Warriors have consistently said they plan to re-sign Thompson to another contract, perhaps before his current deal expires in July 2019.
When The Athletic reported Friday morning that the Warriors and Thompson’s representatives are engaged in early negotiations for an extension, responses from multiple sources ranged from one extreme to the other. There was both denial and confirmation.
The Warriors are saying nothing, keeping with official team policy on contracts. They did, however, point out that Thompson’s agent, Greg Lawrence, denies having any negotiations, a contention confirmed by NBC Sports Bay Area.
However, one league source Friday afternoon insisted there have been preliminary conversations, and given the mutual interest -- each side acknowledges it’s what they want -- this is the logical deduction.
Thompson is in the third year of a four-year contract worth $69 million. He is 14 months away from becoming a free agent eligible for a max deal from the Warriors, roughly $188 million over five years.
If Thompson were to test the market, the most he could get would be just short of $140 million over four years.
For the Warriors, signing Thompson to an extension is the most financially prudent course of action. They would be paying out roughly $103 million over four years, beginning in 2019-20. They definitely want Thompson on the roster then, for that’s when they are scheduled to move into Chase Center.
Thompson’s father, Mychal, told NBC Sports in December that Klay would be “crazy” to leave the Warriors over money, pointing out that his son was happy with the team, enjoys his teammates and loves winning.
Thompson cites the same factors, and there is no reason to doubt his sincerity.
The question, then, is not whether Thompson wants to remain a Warrior. It’s how soon can the two sides agree on a deal. Don’t be surprised if that happens as early as this summer.