The Golden State Warriors currently have one of the greatest collections of talent in NBA history. They had an absurdly gifted roster last year, then they added a consensus top-four player—Kevin Durant—to the mix.
What we’re witnessing is special. At 34-6, they’re not going to break their own record for regular-season wins, but this team is a problem.
As Robert Frost said, though, “nothing gold can stay.” The rules of professional sports are set up to encourage parity. It will be a near-miracle if Golden State is able to hold its collection of talent together for more than one more year.
Klay Thompson says he’s trying not to think about 2018 or 2019 yet. See, Stephen Curry—who has been playing on a bargain-basement deal—is a lock to receive a max contract this year, and Kevin Durant will almost definitely opt in for a second year and also receive a max.
Draymond Green is already under contract for $17.5 million in 2017-18 and $18.5 million the following season. So, between Curry, Durant, and Green, Golden State will have over $90 million committed, with a cap that will probably be under $110 million. How could they possibly pay Thompson, a certified star, and the rest of the role players to fill out their roster?
Thompson spoke about the situation with Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today on the A to Z Podcast.
The full transcription is below (hat tip to Pro Basketball Talk).
“I try not to think that far ahead, but I’d love to be here for as long as I can. What we’ve built here is so special, and I love living in the Bay Area, so that would be a huge priority of mine… I just feel like if I play hard and work hard every day, I’ll get rewarded no matter what I do, so I’m not going to get caught up with the numbers and how much money I could potentially make because it’ll all come around. You’ve just got to stay humble and be appreciative of what I have. And if I keep working this hard, I’ll be rewarded.
“I think I was raised right, with my Dad [Mychal Thompson, the two-time champion with the Lakers and current broadcaster and radio personality] telling me not to play this game for money but play for the love of it and you’ll be rewarded… I’m happy the way NBA players get paid; we deserve it for the revenue we bring in for this league, and I’m just thankful I’m here. I know if I just keep doing what I do, I’ll be rewarded hopefully for a long time.”
Thompson has clearly put a lot of thought into his future. He isn’t blind to the situation, but he’s trying to enjoy the moment while he’s in it.
The Warriors, as he mentioned, have something special going on. But there are also threats to the lasting nature of this special arrangement. Though it’s unfortunate to consider, trading one of the four key figures may be necessary for Golden State.