How Things Turned Sour Between Klay Thompson and the Warriors

Klay Thompson

After a wildly successful 13-year run featuring four championships and an unstoppable dynasty, it’s hard to imagine Klay Thompson playing for any team other than the Golden State Warriors.

And yet here we are, with Thompson signing a three-year, $50 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

But how did we go from Thompson and the Warriors being a match made in heaven to a divorce that once seemed unthinkable?

Let’s break down how this whole thing fell apart.

Of course, the central issue here is money. In simple terms, Thompson is nowhere near the player he once was, so the Warriors were reluctant to offer him a big contract.

This really rubbed Thompson the wrong way, according to NBA insider Chris Haynes.

“I know firsthand that Klay [Thompson] is disappointed in where negotiations have gotten to this point, to the fact that he’s looking elsewhere,” Haynes said on NBA TV ahead of Thompson signing with Dallas.

“… I believe the Warriors are probably offering him annually a low $20 million-type of contract. Is he willing to walk away from that because he feels disrespected? It looks like he is.”

We may never know whether Thompson was in denial over his declining abilities or simply believed he deserved a greater payday based on past accomplishments. Either way, the end result was the same: a pissed-off Klay Thompson who was prepared to pack his bags, which is exactly what he did.


In addition to the financial side, the Warriors were planning to bring Thompson off the bench if he returned next season, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer.

At this point, it’s clear that Thompson would have viewed this as an additional slap in the face.

But there was another factor at play here too. According to San Francisco-based reporter Jason Dumas of KRON4 News, Thompson could be just as draining behind the scenes as Draymond Green,

“The last three years I know Draymond has punched people and got himself suspended on the court… but Klay has been equally exhausting behind the scenes. It’s not as loud,” Jason Dumas said on 95.7 The Game.

“… It’s not as loud because it’s not you stomping on someone’s chest. If he’s slamming stuff on the bench and sulking, and doing that on the court, how do you think it is in practice? How do you think it is in the locker room? It has been uncomfortable — it has. It just doesn’t come out as loudly as Draymond Green.”

In the end, Thompson landed in a favourable position with the Mavericks, a team fresh off a trip to the Finals. The Warriors, on the other hand, are in a more difficult position.

The only assets they received in exchange for Thompson were two second-round picks, and they gave up Chris Paul for nothing too. Golden State reportedly pursued Paul George but missed out when the Clippers declined their various trade offers, and they have since turned their attention to chasing Lauri Markkanen, according to multiple reports.

If the Warriors come up short in their Markkanen negotiations too, next season could be a very long one indeed.

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