May 28, 2024

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Impending free agent Klay Thompson is heading into an uncertain summer

Impending free agent Klay Thompson is heading into an uncertain summer

Klay Thompson, who was 0-for-10 from the field on Tuesday, was held scoreless for the first time since his rookie season.

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SACRAMENTO, CA (AP) – Klay Thompson provided plenty of memorable moments during his decade-plus career as Stephen Curry's fellow Splash Brother in the Golden State Warriors dynasty.

6 tournament game. Scores 3 throws. Shutdown defense against some of the best scorers in the game.

Those were all distant memories as Thompson had one of his worst games ever in a big moment, missing all 10 shots he took Tuesday night in a crucial game. Loss 118-94 to the Sacramento Kings for the Play-In Championship which was Thompson's last game before an uncertain summer of free agency.

“Everyone will talk about one game,” Curry said. “I know he wants to play better. … I know he's a true champion. We all prepare ourselves to do our best when the lights are bright. When that doesn't happen, no one needs to tell you anything.”

Thompson spent the final minutes of the loss sitting on the bench with a blank stare before slowly walking off the field in what may be his last time in a Warriors uniform.

He went scoreless for the first time since his rookie season And he had the most missed shots without a score in a playoff game by a Warriors player in at least 50 seasons.

It was a far cry from the 37-point third quarter against the Kings in 2015 or the 60-point game against Indiana the following season or the 11 3-pointers he hit in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City that helped force a Game 7 And an eventual trip to the NBA Finals.

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But Thompson has struggled to return to that form after missing two full seasons in 2019-20 and 2020-21 due to catastrophic injuries to his knee and Achilles tendon. He returned to help Golden State win its fourth championship of this era in 2022 but struggled for large portions of this season.

With the Warriors eliminated after losing to the Kings in the Play-In Championship, how should Golden State handle the offseason?

He was benched in big moments late in the game at times, forced off the bench during one period but seemed to find his groove late in the season before falling to the Kings.

That ended the final season of a five-year, roughly $190 million contract He is now scheduled to become a free agent in July. The Warriors must decide how much they are willing to pay for a 34-year-old whose best seasons in the past ended after he suffered serious injuries, and Thompson must decide how much of a salary cut he is willing to take or whether he would rather end his career elsewhere. .

“We need Klay back. I know he had a tough night tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “I know I speak for everyone in the organization, we want him back. Clearly there is work at hand that needs to be addressed. …But what Clay means to this franchise, as good as he is, we definitely want him back.

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Thompson has been a key part of a franchise that won four championships and made six trips to the Finals from 2015-2022. Thompson made 2,481 three-pointers in the regular season, the sixth-most in NBA history, and his 501 three-pointers in the playoffs are More than anyone other than Curry.

Thompson did not speak to the media after the game but is expected to speak on Wednesday as the team returns home for an uncertain summer.

“He has to make a decision,” forward Draymond Green said. “He's going to make the decision that's best for him. The team has a decision to make. They're going to make the decision that's best for the team. I don't think there's any scenario where Klay is going to leave and that's the best scenario for this organizational team. … They did the right thing by me. They did the right thing by Steve. They did the right thing by me.” Right by all of us.

This was the first time the Warriors had missed the playoffs in a season when they had the trio of Curry, Thompson and Green healthy.. Their 12 seasons as teammates are the second-most of any trio in NBA history, trailing only the 14 seasons of San Antonio's Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

“I can't see myself ever being with those two guys,” Curry said. “I understand this league is changing and there's a lot of things that go into it and we're not going to play forever. But we've seen a lot together. At the end of the day, I know they want to win and I know I want to win and that's all I worry about.”

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