Klay Thompson

Why Mo Buckets believes Warriors must prioritize retaining Klay

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Marreese Speights spent three seasons with the Warriors, still follows the team closely and, as a citizen of Planet Hoops, has heard the speculation regarding the future of Klay Thompson.

Will Thompson, who will become an unrestricted free agent on June 30, re-sign with Golden State, which drafted him in 2011?

Or will he take his talents elsewhere, with the Orlando Magic expected to be among the teams in pursuit?

Speights is fond of both teams – he grew up in Florida, following the Magic, and finished his NBA career in Orlando – but hopes his former Golden State teammate stays in place.

“He belongs with them,” Speights said on "Dubs Talk." “Yeah, 100 percent.”

Speights laid out his reasons, which are in sync with components of Golden State’s recruiting pitch to retain their core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Thompson.

“(Keeping Thompson) is very important because of the foundation those guys have set,” Speights said. “And the people out there love him.

“But when it comes to basketball, Klay is a big-time basketball junkie. Coming off the bench is probably tough on him because of who he is. He wants to be out there helping his team win.”

Initially unenthusiastic about being moved to the sixth man role in February, Thompson eventually seemed to accept it as part of a career adjustment. His ability remains high but clearly is compromised by severe injuries, a torn left ACL sustained in the NBA Finals in June 2019, followed 18 months later by a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.

Thompson spent the last three weeks of the season in the starting lineup, but coach Steve Kerr indicated in his postseason news conference that should Thompson re-sign, he likely would be penciled in as Golden State's sixth man.

During his postseason news conference, Thompson spoke glowingly about his time with the Warriors but gave no indication of his plans.

“That's going to be a very weird situation out there when free agency comes,” Speights said. “Because I know it's a lot of teams that love him and want him.

“But being there, and he’s comfortable there, and he knows that franchise. I feel like they should do whatever it takes to keep him.”

And yet, the man nicknamed “Mo Buckets” fully understands why a talented young squad like Orlando, with a solid defense but deep-shooting deficiencies, would be interested in a veteran sniper like Thompson.

Thompson and Curry are the only players to make more than 250 3-pointers in each of the last two seasons.

“He’d definitely make their team way better, make their franchise better, because Klay is elite,” Speights said. “He's an elite basketball player, he's elite IQ-wise and he's an elite shooter. And they need an elite shooter over there with the Magic.

“So, if he did leave the Warriors that definitely would be a team that could really help him. And he could really help them.”

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