The Golden State Warriors have a star in guard Klay Thompson, and now that his rookie deal is expiring, they have to start compensating him more. Thompson’s future seems so bright, in fact, that there is worry as to whether the Warriors can afford him. The team already pays three starters over $10m. In light of this, Thompson needs to add a tremendous value to the team if he is to receive an eight-figure salary too.
Thompson has grown a lot as a player during his three years with the Warriors. His shooting percentage, his points per game, his rebounds, his assists – he’s improved across the board and become an essential part of the team. Coach Mark Jackson has stated publicly that Thompson and Stephen Curry form the best shooting duo in NBA history. Together, these two players set an NBA duo record two years ago with 483 three-pointers.
Fans and analysts seem to believe that Thompson is a shoo-in to become an All-Star, but the cash-strapped Warriors need to determine just how likely that is if they’re looking at another All-Star salary. How long is Thompson likely to play at such a high level? He’s only 24, which bodes well, but guards with similar stats to Thompson tend to fall off after five seasons or so. Already three years in, Thompson is working against history if he wants to be an All-Star after his fifth season. Most All-Star NBA guards who have similar stats to Thompson don’t achieve All-Star status after their fifth season. If the Warriors are going to enter into another big contract, it better be for more than two years of real strength.
Statistically, if Thompson is going to become an All-Star, it will have to be in the next season or two, if at all. The problem is that he didn’t receive that many votes for the Western Conference this year…he was ranked 9th. For a player who could potentially be entering his prime (according to statistics), this isn’t a good place to be going into your fourth season.
I’m interested to see whether or not Thompson appears on the Golden State roster next season. There’s a real value to holding on to him, but $10m is a lot of resources that could be spent bringing some new talent to the team to support the stars we already have. There is talk of trading Thompson for Kevin Love. Losing Thompson would be a blow to the franchise, but Kevin Love may potentially pay off more in the long run.