Chris Paul, Klay Thompson lead Warriors’ weighted offseason questions

By Thomson Reuters Apr 17, 2024 | 10:19 AM

Klay Thompson and Chris Paul are not guaranteed a return to the Warriors as Golden State enters the offseason with a number of pressing questions.

Paul wrapped his 19th season in the NBA on Tuesday night and for the first time since 2010, he won’t be part of the NBA playoffs. The Warriors lost the play-in tournament opener to the Sacramento Kings, but Paul said he’ll be playing a 20th season in 2024-25.

“I love coaching Chris. I really hope we bring him back next year,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said postgame Tuesday.

Paul has a $30 million non-guaranteed contract with the Warriors for 2024-25, which could be a boon for a trade to bring back youth, or general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. could decide to simply wipe the hefty deal off the books entirely.

“This isn’t (the end). I know it for sure,” Paul told The Athletic this week.

Thompson is an unrestricted free agent in July, meaning he can re-sign with the Warriors before June 28, the deadline for an erasure maneuver with Paul’s contract, or test the open market.

If Tuesday was Thompson’s final run with the Warriors, it was relatively forgettable for the four-time NBA champion and five-time All-Star drafted by Golden State 11th overall in 2011.

Thompson didn’t score, was 0 for 10 from the field and missed all six of his 3-point attempts at Sacramento. When the final buzzer sounded and his teammates entered the tunnel to the locker room, Thompson lingered, turned around to take in the scene and exited in recognition of the potential gravity and finality of the moment.

“We need Klay back,” Kerr said. “He’s still got good years left. And I know I speak for everybody in the organization: We want him back.

“What Klay has meant to this franchise and as good as he still is, we desperately want him back.”

A reset isn’t high on the list of options Kerr said the Warriors would consider. But Thompson is 34, Stephen Curry turned 36 in March and Paul will be 39 next month.

Notably one half of the “Splash Brothers” alongside Curry, Thompson could agree to a short-term deal to align with Draymond Green, Curry and Kerr, who are signed through 2026. Curry said Tuesday his primary focus is finding a way to win again after being eliminated from the playoff picture in mid-April, six weeks before the NBA Finals.

“I understand this league changes and there are so many things that go into it,” Curry said, “and we’re not going to play forever. But we’ve experienced so much together and at the end of the day I know (Green and Thompson) want to win, I know I want to win, and that’s all I’m worried about.”

Green, whose contract includes a player option for 2026-27, added he wants the Warriors to keep the band together and expects the front office to maintain the established course. He said he didn’t envision “any scenario where Klay leaves.”

“They did right by me. They’ve done right by Steph. They’ve done right by all of us,” Green said. “Klay tore his ACL and they gave him $160 million dollars.”

–Field Level Media