Golden State Warriors veteran inexplicably left off huge offseason rankings

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves
Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages

Even after a underwhelming season by his lofty standards, Golden State Warriors veteran Klay Thompson is still expected to garner over $20 million per year when he hits free agency this offseason.

A number of teams have been linked to a move for the five-time All-Star, including a trio of playoff teams in the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and the likely NBA Finalist Dallas Mavericks.

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson has been inexplicably left off a ranking of the top 20 free agents this offseason

Remaining as one of the best shooters in the league, Thompson should have no shortage of potential suitors if he explores a move away from the Warriors. However, the 34-year-old's value hasn't been recognized by ESPN's Kevin Pelton in a recent ranking of the NBA's top 20 free agents.

Using his SCHOENE player projections to rank the free agents, Pelton had Thompson off the list entirely which he put down to the four-time champion's age and injury history.

"Since his remarkable return from ACL and Achilles injuries, Thompson is no longer the same kind of perimeter defender. Thompson's age (34) also takes a considerable bite out of his future projections."

Kevin Pelton

Making Thompson's absence a little stranger is the presence of teammate Gary Payton II who made it to 14th on the rankings depsite his own injury issues in the past two years. The 31-year-old has a $9.1 million player option for next season, with his value placed above former Warrior D'Angelo Russell (15th) and Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges (16th).

Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz was 20th on the list, providing further context on Thompson's surprise omission. Pelton's analytical projections may be one thing, but it's likely that will differ significantly from the contract value these players will get.

It's almost impossible to see Fultz getting a bigger contract (per year) than Thompson in free agency, while there's a genuine chance that Payton gets about a third of what his teammate will should the defensive-minded guard opt out in the hope of securing a longer deal.

Long-time Golden State rival LeBron James ranked at the top of the list, sitting ahead of Paul George, Tyrese Maxey, Immanual Quickley and James Harden who rounded out the top five.