In the midst of a down year for the Golden State Warriors, the franchise faces more tantalizing realities, as reports have surfaced that Klay Thompson may leave the team at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Jack Simone of Heavy Sports explained Thompson’s prospects, echoing the reports of sources close to colleague Sean Deveney, which had this to say:
“He could consider it,” a Western Conference executive said. “You know, he grew up with his dad as a player, mostly for the Lakers, so they’re a team he could look to leave for. And he grew up near Portland, so the Blazers, there has been talk he wants to play for them. But really, he is kind of engrained in the Warriors now. He is such a part of that team and the culture, everything he went through with the injuries, and just his whole laid-back attitude and approach. They love him. It would be hard to imagine him actually suiting up in another uniform.”
Reports insinuating that Thompson could be considering a move to the Portland Trail Blazers is encouraging news for fans, but they should be taken with a grain of salt. While Thompson was able to put up numbers last season in line with his output in his prime —20.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and a career-high 3.6 3-pointers made in only 29 minutes per game — his efficiency was down.
That was the first season he shot below 40 percent from distance, and is being followed up this season at a 37.3 percent clip. His defense has not been what it once was in comparison to previous seasons, and his shot selection since returning from injury has been questionable at times.
Thompson has been with Warriors since they drafted him with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. He has played all 647 of his career games with Golden State, and has been a major driving force of their four championship title runs over the last eight seasons.
Together with Curry, they have formed the “Splash Brothers” duo that has revolutionized the game of basketball. Both stars are in the top 15 in all-time 3-pointers made, and combine for 5,258 triples for their careers.
Golden State has an abundance of wealth in their second unit, with young talent the likes of Jordan Poole, Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga, and Donte DiVincenzo all vying for minutes as well as ascension in their careers.
Thompson turns 33 in February. With two back-to-back injuries on his rap sheet — an ACL tear in the 2019 NBA Finals, and a torn Achilles in the 2020-21 offseason — a move on the Warriors’ part would open the door for Poole and other young talent to come into their own, although Klay remains a staple in their culture and modus operandi.
Thompson is under contract with Golden State until 2023-24, and is set to make $83 million between this season and next, per Bleacher Report. With speculation that Draymond Green may be out of the door as well come the offseason, the Warriors’ dynasty may come to an abrupt end.