Could shrinking options in free agency force Klay Thompson back to Golden State Warriors on a team-friendly deal?

klay thompson
Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

New reports on Klay Thompson seem to strengthen the idea of his free agency road leading back to the only team he has ever played for, the Golden State Warriors.

Five-time All-Star Klay Thompson will go down as one of the greatest players in Warriors history. In his prime, his mix of high-level defense and All-Star scoring ability was invaluable on many of the franchise’s title teams. However, suffering a torn ACL and then Achilles in consecutive years forever changed the trajectory of his career.

Also Read: 5 trades to make the Golden State Warriors NBA title contenders

While he played a key role on their championship team two years ago, his game has steadily declined since 2021. And this past season saw a new low when he was reduced to a bench role after he became a liability as a starter. While he played well at times as a reserve, it fortified the Warriors’ belief that they were willing to spend only a certain amount to bring him back in a contract extension. However, it is a number Thompson is not happy with.

That is why there has been a belief in recent months that Klay Thompson will take his talents elsewhere this summer and the Orlando Magic are viewed as a top contender. However, on Saturday The Athletic Warriors insider Anthony Slater claimed back-channel talks between the Magic and Thompson’s reps have had “no traction.”

  • Klay Thompson stats (2023-24): 17.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.6 SPG, 39% 3PT
klay thompson
Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

While discussions with Golden State before free agency opens in a couple of weeks have hit a stalemate, Slater reports that Warriors management believes the free agent market will deliver “lukewarm” offers and short-term deals for Thompson. And the hope is that all roads eventually lead him back to the franchise on a deal that is more beneficial for the organization.

The Golden State Warriors reporter also added that bridges may have been burned to enough of a level where Thompson may prefer a fresh start with another team, nonetheless.

Also Read: Golden State Warriors latest offer to Klay Thompson revealed – 3 biggest takeaways

“Even if the Warriors eventually approach Thompson with a competitive offer, matching or exceeding the money and years, it has become increasingly conceivable, according to league sources, that Thompson will decide to leave regardless, searching for a fresh start in a different environment, detached from some of the built-up friction of the previous couple seasons,” Slater wrote.

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