Klay Thompson's form has been a major storyline of the Golden State Warriors season, with the veteran sharpshooter often wrestling between his current state and the pre-injury form that made him a five-time All-Star.
The 34-year-old's play has again come under the microscope over the last week following a string of underwhelming performances. Thompson had a 4-of-19 shooting night against the Atlanta Hawks, was benched while young forward Gui Santos closed against the Brooklyn Nets, then was limited to just 24 minutes and failed to close each half in the Warriors' marquee matchup with the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night. In between Thompson offered a glance of what the team needs more of, recording 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
Klay Thompson has offered a strong indication of his desire to remain with the Golden State Warriors beyond this season
Thompson's expiring contract has only fuelled conversation about his form this season, to the point of whispers and speculation on whether the franchise could trade him before the deadline. While that was never going to happen, the four-time champion's future will remain a talking point heading into the offseason.
Thompson and the Warriors can agree on a contract extension right up until the point of free agency, yet the further is goes the less likely that appears to be. Allowing the franchise legend to reach the open market puts them at risk of losing him for nothing, and would be an unfortunate end to his decorated time in the Bay.
Making $43.2 million on the final year of his deal, there's a wide-held acknowledgement that Thompson's next contract will be significantly less. How much reduction there is though will largely be determined on what role the franchise envisages for him moving forward.
In a candid interview with The Ringer's Logan Murdock, Thompson revealed where his priorities lie for the rest of his career, even suggesting that he's open to a reduced role if it means remaining with Golden State.
"I just think it’s a special, special group, and then when we win and go to so many championships together, ... it’s like a bond for life. It’s probably the best part of the job, honestly. Trumps the money, trumps the fame, just being able to have a bond for life with those guys.”"- Klay Thompson
It's another strong indication that Thompson has no plans of leaving the Warriors in free agency, assuming he gets to that point and an extension isn't forthcoming. He's already getting a taste of what a lesser role looks like, with young players like Podziemski closing over him and Jonathan Kuminga having risen to the team's second scoring option over the last month.
While there's a contract agreement still to be thrashed out, Thompson's shifting perspective suggests there's a strong chance that he remains in a Warrior jersey by the time curtains are called on his Hall-of-Fame career.