With their victory over the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors have made it to their fifth straight Western Conference Finals. They have won the last four conference titles and are the favorites to win their fourth title in five seasons. If you’re interested in online betting, the Warriors are looking like a sure-thing for the 2019 NBA title. The bigger question is whether they will still be there in 2020. This is a big off-season for Golden State with key players up for new deals. How will it all shake out? It’s hard to say for now, but you can be sure it will be an interesting off-season.
Klay Looking for a Big Deal
Klay Thompson is a big part of the Warriors’ success, as a member of the Hamptons 5, but let’s be honest, he’s not Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry.
Durant is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, and Curry is a two-time league MVP, while Thompson is neither of those things. He is, however, an excellent two-way player, whose defense often gets overlooked. But he’s an off-the-ball player, who can’t really create his own shot, and, at times, is a bit inconsistent, as we’ve seen in the Rockets series.
Still, though, he’ll be eligible to sign a max deal this summer, and that’s apparently the type of money he’ll be seeking. A report from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on “First Take” states that Thompson wants big money in free agency this summer, as he’s tired of receiving “crumbs.”
“I have not spoken to Klay Thompson, in fairness to Klay Thompson, let me be clear about that. I’m told Klay Thompson isn’t happy, his number hasn’t been called nearly enough, he’s tired of sitting around and getting, quote-unquote: the crumbs left behind by other people.”
Thompson made nearly $19 million this season — far from crumbs. But it’s substantially less than he’ll be receiving this summer, whether he’s in Golden State or elsewhere.
But Kerr Believes He Will Stay…
There’s talk about the Warriors being split up next season — with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson set to hit free agency — but head coach Steve Kerr seems to believe at least one of those players will stay.
The Warriors are set to move across the bridge to San Francisco next season, where they’ll play in the brand-new, state-of-the-art Chase Center. Still, though, there’s a lot of talk about Durant wanting his own team, where he can be the star, whether that’s in Brooklyn, New York City or Los Angeles (Clippers).
Thompson will become a free agent on July 1 as well, unless the Warriors offer him a new deal. He’d be eligible to get a max contract, but that might be a difficult sell, given what Stephen Curry already makes. As such, there’s been talk about the Lakers or Clippers swooping in and paying Thompson the big bucks, especially since he grew up in the LA area. Kerr doesn’t believe he’ll leave, though.
“I know that everybody — coaches, management, ownership — everybody wants Klay back,” Kerr said, via ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “I think the feeling is just, Klay wants to be here, we want Klay.”
That seems to be more of Kerr trying to prevent Thompson’s impending free agency from being a distraction during their playoff run, rather than him being certain Klay won’t leave.
Will Durant Stay as Well?
It’s possible that Kevin Durant, after suffering a calf injury in Game 5, may have played his last game in a Warriors uniform.
Golden State will have to win one of two games against the Rockets without KD, otherwise they’ll be eliminated from postseason contention, with him set to become a free agent this summer.
The rumors swirling over the past few months have linked him to the Knicks, with Durant wanting to have the opportunity of having his “own team.” Sportsbooks are even favoring the Knicks as Durant’s 2019-20 landing spot. But recent reports have been circulating about him potentially staying in the Bay Area when the team moves to Chase Center in San Francisco.
A report from Sam Amick of The Athletic states that there is “a belief within Warriors Circles” that KD may value the opportunity to win more championships, rather than joining a 2018-19 non-contender, causing him to stay in the Bay Area.
It’s possible that the Warriors are in Amick’s ear, and that they’re the ones that leaked this report, in hopes of putting a damper in the Knicks’ hopes. Or, KD really does value winning above all else. We’ll soon find out. For now, we hope the Warriors can defeat the Rockets and give Durant a chance to win another Finals MVP/championship ring.