Klay Thompson

What contract ESPN analyst would offer Klay in free agency

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It is hard to gauge what Klay Thompson’s future looks like.

The longtime Warriors guard’s fate is a guessing game due to his age (34), declining production and cryptic social media habits that rival San Francisco 49ers star Brandon Aiyuk across the Bay.

Still, ESPN’s Bobby Marks gave his best shot at predicting what kind of contract Thompson might land in free agency in an exclusive article published on Monday.

“The deal I'd offer: Two years, $70 million,” Marks wrote.

“Best free-agent fits: Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers.”

Thompson averaged a subpar 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in 77 contests during the 2023-24 NBA season. Infamously, he ended the season with a 0-for-10 outing in Golden State’s NBA Play-In Tournament loss to the Sacramento Kings. 

However, Marks believes Thompson’s improved play off the bench -- where he averaged 19.8 points over 14 games -- will help the 13-year Warriors veteran receive a contract north of $30 million annually, especially from teams seeking a proven 3-and-D threat for deep playoff runs.

Golden State’s financial approach for the 2024-25 season, though, throws a wrench in matters, per Marks, as owner Joe Lacob made it clear in February that the Warriors aim to be out of the luxury tax.

“In a perfect world, Golden State would reward Thompson with the same four-year, $134 million contract Jrue Holiday signed with the Boston Celtics,” Marks added. “But the Warriors no longer live in a perfect world, and owner Joe Lacob has gone on the record to remind that the days of the franchise's high spending are over.

“What does this mean for a new Thompson contract? If the goal remains to sign Thompson, the Warriors are hard-pressed to get under the luxury tax even if they waive the contracts of Chris Paul and Kevon Looney and then fill out the roster with players signed to the veteran's minimum exception. A Thompson contract that starts at $33 million, however, keeps Golden State below the first and second apron.”

Paul is due $30 million next season, per Spotrac, and Looney is due $8 million. The Warriors might have to cut them loose to retain their four-time NBA Champion.

Additionally, Marks is concerned that Thompson potentially won’t be happy with a two-year contract offering, considering Steph Curry and Draymond Green already are on the books for the long haul with massive deals.

In the same breath, Marks can see Thompson having a desirable payday in his future because young teams like the Thunder and Magic want to win now while their respective stars remain on relatively cheap rookie contracts.

“Would Thompson see a two-year contract as an insult especially after Draymond Green signed for four years and $120 million last offseason?” added Marks. 

“Could he get a third year from a team such as Orlando or Oklahoma City? Both teams are entering a two-year financial window to spend before extensions for Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams begin.”

Thompson has career averages of 19.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists, and always has been a plus defender.

Whether it’s with Golden State or not, the six-time NBA All-Star will find a home somewhere.

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