Klay Thompson's future continues to be a major storyline in the Golden State Warriors' season, and only more so after the veteran shooting-guard was benched by Steve Kerr to close the team's 119-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
Thompson scored just seven points on 2-10 shooting in 27 minutes against the Suns, before being benched over the final six minutes as the Warriors suffered their 12th loss in the last 17 games.
The Golden State Warriors and Klay Thompson are expected to 'play it out' with no contract extension likely before free agency
Thompson's late-game benching wasn't a huge surprise, but it was still a notable step in a season where the Warriors' veterans continue to underdeliver outside Stephen Curry.
The 33-year-old's future is lurking in the backdrop, yet is ever present as his struggles maintain. Speaking on Fanduel TV's NBA Show on Wednesday, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported the franchise had initially offered Thompson a two-year extension prior to the start of the season.
"His future has been in question, we talked about on the eve of the season, they're not close on a contract extension...I'm told that the Warriors offered a deal, two years in the range of $48 million in an extension to Klay Thompson before the season. Now there's no deal, we're into the season, he's going to play it out, they're going to play it out."- Shams Charania of The Athletic
Thompson and his management, at that point, were probably right to balk at the offer. Long-time teammate Draymond Green had just garnered a four-year, $100 million contract in free agency, with that mark speculated as a reasonable number that Thompson may receive.
But the further the season plays out, the more the two-year, $48 million offer may be more in line with Thompson's worth. The five-time All-Star has seen a major decline on both ends of the floor this season, making a three or four-year deal very much risky business for Golden State or any other prospective franchise.
Thompson is averaging 15.4 points per game on less than 40% shooting from the floor and 34.3% from three-point range. Some of his shot-selection this season, and again on Tuesday night, has drew the ire of fans across social media.
The four-time champion is one of a number of Warrior veterans whose future is up in the air. Chris Paul has a non-guaranteed $30 million contract for next season, while Andrew Wiggins' disastrous form is further opening trade speculation despite being in the first of a four-year deal he signed prior to last season.