Warriors

Mixed messages abound, but mutual interest will keep Klay with Warriors

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USATSI

Mixed messages abound, but mutual interest will keep Klay with Warriors

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.

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Do you remember what happened with about 35 seconds left in OT during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals?

In case you forgot:

The Warriors led by 11 points and with the shot clock winding down, Steph Curry attempted a driving layup and LeBron James blocked it.

LeBron proceeded to talk some trash to Curry and even used a little forearm to nudge him away when Curry said something in return.

On the most recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Curry shed some light on the exchange.

Simmons: "He blocked you and he talked sh*t to you. I thought you guys were gonna fight."

Curry: "It was never going to spill over to that. But it was an interesting moment ... I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn't see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.

"And I was like, 'That's what we're really on right now? We're about to win and you're worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?' And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, 'Yo, what's up? Is this really what we're about right now?'

"And he was like, 'I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I'm a mentor' and it's a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, 'I don't want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.' (laughter). Come on man, that's messed up."

Simmons: "I want more of it. I don't want you guys to like each other. This is my biggest problem with this decade. I like that I'm not positive you and LeBron like each other (Curry starts laughing). Watching from afar, it doesn't seem like you like each other. I'm sure there's a mutual respect."

Curry: "There's definitely a mutual respect. I would say though when you see guys working out with each other in the summers and you see guys playing pickup and all that -- when you step foot on the court during the season, it's a totally different environment.

"Guys can be buddies and friends and whatnot and have whatever type of relationship they want to have in the summer and off the court, but the rivalry and competition and egos and all that stuff that lives in an NBA game and when you're trying to hold that trophy ... it's really there and it's not going anywhere."

Simmons: "I don't want you guys to get along. I want adverserial relationships."

Curry: "They're there. They're there. I promise you."

Good. That is awesome.

A couple other takeaways from the podcast:

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

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AP

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

With the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Ricky Rubio.

With the sixth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Jonny Flynn.

With the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select... Stephen Curry.

And the rest is history.

As you all know, the man in charge of those selections -- David Kahn -- was fired in 2013 and no longer works in the NBA.

"My guy David Kahn. I don't know where he's at right now," Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. "I don't know if that ever came out -- there's a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf -- play it in my spare time and what not.

"I think the word on the street was that he didn't draft me because in Minnesota it's cold and I wouldn't be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable."

A shocked Simmons asked Curry: "Is that true?"

"I hope it's true because that's hilarious (laughter)," Curry said. "That's hilarious."

To which Simmons responded: "It was idiotic in the moment. I did a draft diary. I was going nuts. Because if you're gonna take two point guards, how are you not one of the two? And then if you're gonna go all-in on Rubio and you don't even know if he's gonna come over..."

Rubio didn't leave Spain for the NBA until the 2011-12 season, and a hip injury unfortunately ended Flynn's career after just two plus seasons.

There's no way we will ever find out if that golf story is true, but just like Steph... we certainly hope it is.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller