Klay Thompson is dealing with the erosion of his NBA stardom, as the soon-to-be 35-year-old is having one of the lowest-production seasons of his career. He can no longer perform consistently enough to be the No. 2 option for the Warriors and is starting to realize it.
In an interview with The Ringer, Thompson made it clear he understands what his physical limitations are and wants to extend his career with a smaller role like Reggie Miller and Ray Allen did.
“There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ll be 35 next year. At 35, coming off the ACL and an Achilles [tear] and still have the ability to be a really good player. Maybe not the guy who scored 60 in three quarters and scored an NBA record 37 points in a quarter, but still a great threat out there. I’ve modeled my game after Reggie [Miller] and Ray [Allen], and those guys were incredibly effective until their late 30s. So I plan on kind of following that mold.”
Klay recognizes he is past the history-making feats like the ones we’ve seen him earn before, but he can still be a winning contributor on a team. Ray Allen played until 2014, marking the end of an 18-year career as a two-time champion. Reggie Miller never won a title but represented the Indiana Pacers until 2004 to notch 18 years with the franchise.
The two examples he gave also present two different paths for Klay to finish his career. Klay can be a free agent this summer, which means he could either walk from the Warriors and contend elsewhere like how Allen did, or continue representing the Warriors regardless of success like Miller did.
Will Klay Thompson Re-Sign With The Warriors?
Klay Thompson rejected contract extension offers from the Warriors in the summer, hoping to play his way into a better deal. unfortunately, it seems Klay’s value has been further hurt by his performances this season. With the value of long-term salary cap flexibility going up, it’s unlikely Klay will receive a marquee offer from any team in free agency this summer.
Klay is averaging 16.9 points on 41.3% from the field and 37.3% from three. These are still solid numbers for a rotational player worth around $15-20 million. The Warriors may be his best bet to get that value of a contract. In my opinion, he was never going to leave Golden State to begin with. Unless the franchise makes the bold move of trading him, Klay will be a Warrior for life.
He is in the final years of his career and the value of being a one-team player alongside Stephen Curry and Draymond Green is significant. He already has four titles so ring-chasing for one more seems fruitless compared to his legacy as a Warrior. It seems he will take the Reggie Miller route and try to maximize his career for as long as possible for the team that drafted him in the NBA.
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