Zaza Pachulia and Klay Thompson developed a strong bond during the two seasons they played together with the Warriors in 2016-17 and '17-18. An unlikely bromance has blossomed between the two, inlcuding a number of hilarious public moments.
Now working in the Warriors' front office, Pachulia spoke with The Mercury News' Wes Goldberg about being with general manager Bob Myers when the team first learned of Thompson's Achilles injury just prior to the 2020 NBA Draft.
"I was actually sitting next to Bob and suddenly his face changed,” Pachulia told Goldberg. “He should be excited about the process and about the position we were in, but I didn’t like the look on his face and his reaction when he answered the phone.
“He was just listening and (asked the person on the other end), ‘Is it bad?’” Pachulia continued to Goldberg. “It was silent in the room. It was silent. And then we heard about Klay. Obviously you don’t exactly know what the diagnosis was, but you could feel that something was not right.”
Myers joined NBC Sports Bay Area's on draft night before learning the full extent of Klay's injury, and was emotional about the All-Star guard's outlook.
The Warriors GM also spoke to reporters about how fellow Warriors stars Steph Curry and Draymond Green were told about Thompson's torn right Achilles.
"You know, I've learned in life sometimes words don't do it," Myers said Thursday. "It's not news you want to break on the phone. But that's how it was done. And a lot of silence. I was with [CEO Joe Lacob] and [coach Steve Kerr] and [assistant general manager Kirk Lacob] and probably what you're hearing right now, nothing. What are you going to say?
"Those guys have been in it more than I have with Klay. There's no better bond than players with players. So I can't experience it from their standpoint. I know it hurts."
Green told reporters in December that hearing the news "sucked," but that if anyone can rebound from two consecutive season-ending injuries, it is Thompson.
"I think if there's anybody who can come back from two catastrophic injuries [and] come back strong, either at that same level or better, I think it's him," Green said Monday in a video conference with reporters after participating in his first team practice of training camp.
"He embodies everything it means to be a Warrior," Green continued. "No pun intended, I think we all know how tough Klay is. He's tough as nails."
Thompson recently joined NBC Sports Bay Area's broadcast of the Warriors' game against the Detroit Pistons, and spoke about how eager he is to return to the court and make his long-awaited Chase Center debut.
"I'm living. Good to be back in the building," Thompson told Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike. "I'm so eagerly waiting to play. Just bored at times. Stuff is slow with letting my Achilles try to heal and get to the next stage, which is mobility work. But I'm feeling good. I'm happy to be with my teammates. Unfortunately I'm not playing. It kills me every day, but I plan on playing for a long time and I don't want to have any mishaps from this rehab."
While he hasn't been on the court, Thompson is among the top 10 Western Conference guards in NBA All-Star fan voting, speaking to his immense popularity across the league's fans in general.