Warriors

NBA free agency rumors: Klay Thompson, Warriors agree to max contract

NBA free agency rumors: Klay Thompson, Warriors agree to max contract

The time for semantics now is over.

Klay Thompson officially has agreed to sign his five-year, $190 million contract with the Warriors, the San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau reported last Monday.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole reported last Saturday that the sides had planned to come to an agreement and sign the contract when the moratorium is lifted July 6, and it appears nothing happened to make Thompson change his mind.

On Wednesday July 10, the Warriors announced that it became officially official.

After Kevin Durant decided to bolt the Bay for the Brooklyn Nets last Sunday, some might have wondered if Thompson would waver and take a look at other franchises. Thompson never wavered, though, and he'll be a part of the Warriors' core, along with Steph Curry and Draymond Green, for the foreseeable future.

[RELATED: Report: Warriors likely will trade Russell at some point]

Even though Thompson will miss most of next season as he recovers from the torn ACL he suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the Warriors never intended on letting him even think of walking out the door.

Splash Brother. Warrior. For life. Or at least the next five seasons.

As it should be.

How Warriors star Klay Thompson made most of Washington State career

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AP

How Warriors star Klay Thompson made most of Washington State career

SAN FRANCISCO -- His shooting stroke was soft, almost poetic, gleaned from bloodlines steeped in basketball. He spent his adolescence in Southern California, with sandy beaches in one direction and the bright lights of Hollywood in the other.

These concerns, and anxieties typical of the recruiting trail, led to more than a few nervous folks at Washington State University in 2008. They were reaching high and not at all certain of making the grab.

Could they really persuade Klay Thompson to come to Pullman?

Would the teenage son of three-time NBA champion Mychal Thompson leave the comforts of SoCal for the southeastern Washington city, where winters are harsh, there is no beach and one could drive for miles without seeing humanity or even a home?

Two years later, Thompson not only was a Cougar but also had a key to the gym.

“That’s all I needed,” he said earlier this week.

Thompson returned to Pullman on Friday for a special event: His Washington State basketball jersey, No. 1, is being retired and will go into the rafters of Beasley Coliseum during halftime of the WSU-Oregon State game Saturday afternoon

"I'm really excited,” Thompson said Tuesday night. “I haven't been back in about five years. So, to go back and see the people I really grew up with, and the community that really embraced me. It's very nostalgic and it's just really cool, because [a jersey retirement[ was a dream of mine leaving Pullman. I didn't think it would ever come true. And it did, so it's exciting."

Thompson is a three-time NBA champion and a five-time All-Star with the Warriors. He won an Olympic gold medal at the Rio Games in 2016. The 6-foot-7 guard has established himself as one of the greatest pure shooters in basketball history.

Yet so much of his path to the top required what Thompson, who grew up in greater Portland, Ore. and at age 14 moved to Southern California, believes were a crucial three years at the most remote major college on the West Coast.

“There’s not much out there, besides wheat fields and some snow at times,” Thompson recalled.

“But it’s a beautiful place to be able to focus and make relationships that will last a lifetime,” he added. “And it allowed me to blossom into the person I am today.”

In three seasons as a starter at Thompson played 98 games, averaging 17.9 points per contest. By the time he left after his junior year, he had scored 1,756 points (third in school history) and drilled what then was a school-record 242 3-pointers.

He also experienced one of the most regrettable moments of his life. In March 2011, fewer than three months before the Warriors would draft him in the first round, No. 11 overall, Thompson was arrested for possession of marijuana. Then-WSU coach Ken Bone, having already set a precedent earlier that season, suspended Thompson for one game.

The final regular-season game, against UCLA, five days before the conference tournament.

Though Klay had gotten an earful from his father, he might not have needed it. He felt bad enough being forced to the sideline for a game that could influence WSU’s chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament.

So, before tipoff of the Cougars-Bruins game at Beasley, Thompson sought and was granted permission to address his teammates and the crowd.

“I made a mistake,” Thompson said then. “I had bad judgment, and I would do anything to be out there today.”

There was no doubt Thompson’s contrition was genuine. The man loves to play basketball. He loved being with his teammates. Loved making a difference at a place he knew nothing of only a few years earlier.

Spending his childhood in Oregon and SoCal, it was natural to want to play in the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) Conference. It’s the league Thompson followed closest and knew best.

UCLA and USC didn’t call. Neither did the Arizona schools or the Oregon schools. Nine schools searched elsewhere for talent. When then-WSU coach Tony Bennett, fingers crossed, extended an invitation, Klay accepted and made the recruiting trip.

A few weeks later, he bought in.

“I really believed in Tony Bennett,” Thompson recalled. “I believed in his program. I believed he could get me to the NBA with his tutelage. And I was inspired by seeing what that team did for that school and that city. They really brought a lot of pride to a community that seems to be in a very remote place. They embrace the Cougs like none other because that’s all that’s really out there in Eastern Washington is Cougar pride and the Palouse.

“That’s what drew me, especially coming from Southern California. It’s nice to get away from the grid and the city.”

[RELATED: Why Wiseman is, is not perfect fit for Warriors in draft]

Nearly 12 years after choosing Washington State, Thompson has no regrets. Why would he? Yes, there was, for a fleeting moment, a glimpse of a mistake he thought could jeopardize his wish to reach the NBA.

But Thompson survived the frigid winters. He drew tranquility from the barren landscape. He found many new friends. He experienced a lifestyle he’d never known and was better for it.

“If I could go back and do it again,” he said, “I’d choose Pullman again every day of the week.”

Why James Wiseman is, is not a perfect fit for Warriors in NBA Draft

Why James Wiseman is, is not a perfect fit for Warriors in NBA Draft

It's been a long time since the Warriors have had to worry about pick at the top of the NBA Draft.

But, barring a miraculous turnaround, that's exactly what Bob Myers and his staff find themselves thinking about midway through January.

The Warriors enter the weekend with the worst record in the NBA and appear set to land one of the top overall picks in the draft on June 25.

Assuming the Warriors land one of the top three picks in the draft, there are three names that have been tied to Golden State: Center James Wiseman and wings Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball.

NBC Sports college basketball writer Rob Dauster explained to NBC Sports Bay Area this week why he believes Wiseman should be the pick for the Warriors.

"I think in an ideal world, if you can get a top-three pick, and you end up getting James Wiseman, that's the perfect fit for this Golden State team," Dauster said. "You look at the players they've run through at the [center position], whether it's Kevon Looney, whether it's Damian Jones, anybody that they've brought in, they are looking for that guy that can be that athletic center, that can be switchable defensively, that's gonna be able to block some shots, that can rebound the ball, that can run in transition and James Wiseman is the guy that makes the most sense to me.

"He's 7-foot, he's got a 7-foot-6 wingspan, he's got all the tools to be a really good defender at the NBA level and I think he has a developing offensive skill set that should allow him to space the floor a little bit.

Dauster did add a bit of caution with Wiseman. The 18-year-old began his college career at Memphis, but was ruled ineligible on Nov. 14. In the summer of 2017, Memphis coach Penny Hardaway paid $11.500 to help Wiseman's family move from Nashville, Tenn. to Memphis.

A little over a month later, Wiseman decided to leave Memphis and declared for the NBA Draft. He ended up playing in just three games for the Tigers.

"Now, the thing about Wiseman is that there are always questions about his competitiveness and whether or not he loves basketball," Dauster said. "Of all the red flags you see come along with big guys that kind of loff their way through high school and loff their way through college a little bit, and it hasn't been helped by the fact that he basically quit on his Memphis team earlier this month. There are red flags involved with him, but if you have a guy with competitiveness issues, I think the absolutely perfect fit for him would be to put him in a locker room with guys like Draymond Green and Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. You're not going to be able to loff when you have those guys to answer to after every single practice and after every game.

The other issue Dauster brought up is the Warriors' window to compete for an NBA championship. Assuming Curry and Thompson are healthy to begin the 2020-21 season, most experts feel the Warriors will return to the top of the Western Conference standings. But Wiseman might not be ready to compete at that level, according to Dauster.

"Now, the problem there is, Wiseman to me, is probably two or three years from really becoming the guy that you want him to be when you're drafting him and I don't know if you have a two or three year window with this crop of players," Dauster said. "How long is Steph Curry going to be at his peak? How long is Klay Thompson going to be at his peak? Have those guys already crossed that threshold and now on the downside of their careers? So the big question to me is, if you want to use this pick on James Wiseman, are you doing it knowing that you have a year or two before he becomes the guy that can impact the game the way you want him to impact a game?"

[RELATED: Players Warriors could take at No. 2]

The Warriors will have a big decision on their hands come June. Of course, they could package the draft pick with D'Angelo Russell and bring in an All-Star caliber NBA player.

The options for the Warriors are unlimited. Wiseman will surely garner consideration from the Warriors. But they must do their homework and make sure he's the right fit.