What Myers believes will drive Klay’s impending free-agency decision

NBC Sports Bay Area

Where Klay Thompson will play next season remains a mystery, with the prolific shooter’s impending free agency shaping up to be a marquee 2024 NBA offseason storyline.

Former Warriors general manager Bob Myers, who spent over a decade at Golden State with Thompson, weighed in on the five-time NBA All-Star’s looming unrestricted free agency. Myers detailed the connection between the Warriors’ foundational core three players, while revealing why he believes Thompson’s desire ultimately is to remain in Golden State.

“I will say this. Great reverence for Klay Thompson, and Steph Curry and Draymond Green,” Myers, now an ESPN analyst, said on Wednesday’s “NBA Countdown.” “I don’t know that people know or believe the competitiveness in those three. You don’t do what they’ve done for the amount of time they’ve done it without being special inside. 

“Obviously, we see what they do as far as shooting — Steph and Klay — and what Draymond does defensively. But who they are as people is rare. So, it’s hard for me to watch Klay almost even heading into free agency. I don’t think he even knew the free-agency date. Most players go through free agency five or six times. He didn’t even know what day it was.

“What that tells me is he wants to be there. You heard Steve Kerr last night, you heard Steph Curry, Draymond Green. They all want him there.”

But will Thompson stay? That question remains, and to Myers, it comes down to one thing — money.

“Klay will stay if he feels like hes been appreciated and paid what is appropriate,” Myers explained. “But if he’s not, that’s the question.

“It’s always kind of a pride component, because it’s not money. People will say, ‘Well, Klay Thompson has made all this money.’ Fine. But you know what? There’s a pride component to it for any professional athlete. So, it’s not just the money. He doesn’t need any more money for the rest of his life. That’s not the point, though. If somebody comes along and doubles the Warriors’ offer, things might change.”

While Thompson’s impending free agency has grabbed the spotlight on Golden State’s offseason to-do list, Myers reiterated the overall results from the roster as a whole are problematic for a team that had the NBA’s highest payroll this season.

“What do the Warriors do? It’s not just about Klay Thompson. That’s the hard question,” Myers said. “We’re talking about Klay Thompson, but there’s other things to be answered. Because you bring this team back, and Klay Thompson comes back, this is not an ending to what we saw was a healthy team that’s acceptable for Joe Lacob and that payroll.”

Even with the Warriors finishing the season with two more wins than they did the previous year, they fell from the No. 6 seed to the No. 10 before being dispatched by the Sacramento Kings in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

Despite an aging core — Curry is 36, while Thompson and Green both are 34 — there appears to be plenty of tread left on Warriors Big Three’s tires, leaving questions about how long the storied group can stick together.

Thompson shook off a rough start to his campaign to become one of the league’s most consistent shooters during the second half of the regular season, a humbling reminder that the five-time NBA All-Star still holds tremendous value in a league that never can have enough elite-level shooting.

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