Between Klay Thompson and the Warriors, two years of frustration • Basket USA

Between Klay Thompson and the Warriors, two years of frustration • Basket USA
Between Klay Thompson and the Warriors, two years of frustration • Basket USA

793 regular season games and 158 playoff games, six Finals, four championship rings, a record of 73 wins in 2015/26, 2,481 three-pointers, a legendary partnership with Stephen Curry, his “Splash Brother”, and Draymond Green… Klay Thompson leaves Golden State with a track record as long as his arm.

His did so much good to the Warriors, with his shots from afar. Since 2011, the guard has written one of the most beautiful pages in the history of the league with the Californian franchise, forming a legendary dynasty. But paradoxically, everything broke at the time of the last title, in 2022, when he was returning from two blank years, blocked by two serious injuries.

2022: Title and resentment

Since that moment of joy, Klay Thompson has been “unhappy,” according to a close friend of the player, quoted by ESPN, in an article that looks back on this divorce. His spleen can be explained by the progress – the lack of progress even – of the negotiations with the Warriors, by the “lack of consideration” that he observes when he compares himself with his teammates, and by his role, less and less important.

Indeed, after making enormous physical and mental efforts to return after almost 30 months away from the courts, the rear finds sensations and colors. He wins the title against the Celtics in 2022 and thinks of obtaining a contract extension in the wake of this fourth trophy.

This is not the case and Klay Thompson takes this as “a lack of respect”. Especially since, at the same time, Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins are extending (for 140 and 109 million respectively) before the start of the 2022/23 season. The guard and Draymond Green, the executives, must therefore be patient and do not appreciate this observation.

The rest is history: the interior will hit Jordan Poole in the face, a fracture will occur in the group and the title defense will not go as planned. Nevertheless, Draymond Green will obtain a four-year extension in 2023, with $100 million. Klay Thompson, for his part, talks with the franchise but we are only talking about a two-year contract around $50 million. Inevitably, he makes the comparison with Draymond Green’s contract and the resentment of 2022 increases…

Andre Iguodala role and last attempt

In addition, the Warriors still seem to be pushing back the (four) approaches from the player’s camp to extend. They have an eye on the finances and on the new collective agreement, with its “second apron”, which explains the Clippers’ behavior with Paul George for example. They are nevertheless trying to strengthen themselves by approaching the winger now in Philadelphia, LeBron James, Mikal Bridges or even Lauri Markkanen. “It was obvious: Thompson was not the priority”conclude our colleagues Ramona Shelburne and Kendra Andrews.

The extensions did not arrive on time, did not have the expected amounts, and the franchise asked him to be patient: faced with this observation, the player could not hide his discontent during the 2023/24 season. He has become difficult to manage in the locker room, even for those who defended him and the meetings with Steve Kerr have been numerous. He who, in the past, did not ask for any management effort is now becoming a problem.

The exercise ends in pain, for the player already – who is having his worst season in ten years – but also for the team as a whole – without playoffs -, before the last window to keep him opens. The Warriors still hope to keep him, imagining that he could have a lesser role. He could have become a new Andre Iguodala, that is to say the veteran who comes off the bench to provide services in the playoffs. Klay Thompson is not thrilled by the idea, but that does not prevent him from imagining a return to California.

A new start

But as the situation is not really moving forward, the idea of ​​leaving, of experiencing a new challenge elsewhere is gaining weight. It is even becoming obvious, especially a few days after a last attempt at an agreement. The player’s camp had offered a two-year extension, with around $20 million per season, to the management. Same answer as for the past year: for the moment, we can’t…

So it’s over. They have to turn the page and look elsewhere, to Los Angeles, Dallas or Oklahoma City. Klay Thompson tells Steve Kerr in late June, then calls Stephen Curry and Draymond Green to explain that he needs a fresh start. So there’s no point in them putting pressure on the franchise to keep him.

Finally, last phone call to GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. and owner Joe Lacob to work on a sign-and-trade with the team of his choice. Despite the desires of his father, Mychal Thompson, who hopes to see him at the Lakers, it is the Mavericks who have his preference. The Warriors do what is necessary to satisfy the player, who will fit well in Texas, and as the journalists of ESPN write, it was “an amicable separation”.

Klay Thompson Percentage Rebounds
Saison Team MJ Min Shots 3pts LF Off Def Until Pd Fte Int Bp Ct Pts
2011-12 GOS 66 24 44.3 41.4 86.8 0.4 2.1 2.4 2.0 2.4 0.7 1.6 0.3 12.5
2012-13 GOS 82 36 42.2 40.1 84.1 0.4 3.3 3.7 2.2 2.9 1.1 1.9 0.6 16.6
2013-14 GOS 81 35 44.4 41.7 79.5 0.5 2.6 3.1 2.2 2.9 0.9 1.7 0.5 18.4
2014-15 GOS 77 32 46.3 43.9 87.9 0.4 2.9 3.2 2.9 1.6 1.1 1.9 0.8 21.7
2015-16 GOS 80 33 47.0 42.5 87.3 0.4 3.4 3.8 2.1 1.9 0.8 1.7 0.6 22.1
2016-17 GOS 78 34 46.8 41.4 85.3 0.6 3.0 3.7 2.1 1.8 0.9 1.6 0.5 22.3
2017-18 GOS 73 34 48.8 44.0 83.7 0.4 3.4 3.8 2.5 1.6 0.8 1.8 0.5 20.0
2018-19 GOS 78 34 46.7 40.2 81.6 0.5 3.4 3.8 2.4 2.0 1.1 1.5 0.6 21.5
2021-22 GOS 32 29 42.9 38.5 90.2 0.5 3.4 3.9 2.8 1.7 0.5 1.3 0.5 20.4
2022-23 GOS 69 33 43.6 41.2 87.9 0.6 3.6 4.1 2.4 1.9 0.7 1.8 0.4 21.9
2023-24 GOS 77 30 43.2 38.7 92.7 0.5 2.8 3.3 2.3 1.7 0.7 1.5 0.5 17.9
Total 793 33 45.3 41.3 85.8 0.5 3.1 3.5 2.3 2.1 0.9 1.7 0.5 19.6

How to read the stats? GM = Games Played; Min = Minutes; Shots = Shots Made / Shots Attempted; 3pts = 3-pointers / 3-pointers Attempted; LF = Free Throws Made / Free Throws Attempted; Off = Offensive Rebound; Def = Defensive Rebound; Tot = Total Rebounds; Pd = Assists; Fte: Personal Fouls; Int = Steals; Bp = Loose Balls; Ct: Blocks; Pts = Points.

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