Warriors find valuable Klay Thompson replacement: Instant reaction, analysis

Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors
Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors / Kavin Mistry/GettyImages

Just minutes after confirmation that Klay Thompson intends to sign a three-year, $50 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks, the Golden State Warriors have gone about adding his replacement in their own free agency move.

The Warriors have reportedly signed former Philadelphia 76ers guard De'Anthony Melton to a one-year, $12.8 million contract, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania on Monday.

The Golden State Warriors have made the best of a bad situation by finding a valuable free agent signing in De'Anthony Melton

While losing Thompson will be a bitter blow for the franchise, Melton will be a reasonable replacement who should give the franchise an added defensive element next to Stephen Curry. The Warriors used their full non-taxpayer mid-level exception on the 26-year-old, only made available after they waived Chris Paul's non-guaranteed $30 million contract on Sunday.

A back injury limited Melton to just 38 games last season, but in 2022-23 averaged 10.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals, shooting 39% from three-point range on over five attempts per game.

Originally the 46th pick in the second-round of the 2018 draft, Melton played his rookie year with the Phoenix Suns before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies where he developed into a solid rotation player.

His value increased further after being traded to the 76ers in June 2022, having started in 91 of his 115 games over the past two seasons. Melton shoots 36.9% from beyond the arc on his career and averages an impressive 1.4 steals per game.

The 6'3" guard will be hoping to rehabilitate his value after an injury-interrupted year, presenting as a valuable pick up for Golden State in a similar manner to Donte DiVincenzo two years ago, and Otto Porter Jr. in the team's 2021-22 championship season.

Melton will likely have the inside running on the starting two-guard spot ahead of this year's All-Rookie First Team member Brandin Podziemski, with Moses Moody another possible but unlikely candidate to replace the outgoing Thompson.