LOS ANGELES — Three All-NBA teams were announced on Thursday. And while there were a handful of debatable omissions, few may carry a bigger impact than the absence of Golden State Warriors All-Star Klay Thompson.
The "Splash Brother" finished well behind his backcourt mate, Stephen Curry, placing 26th in the overall voting (tied with Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams and Utah Jazz rookie guard Donovan Mitchell, with all earning two third-place votes apiece). Curry earned an All-NBA Third Team slot.
Beyond the loss of bragging rights, the snub has significant financial implications for Thompson, who won't qualify for a "supermax" contract extension.
That's assuming the 28-year-old guard doesn't win NBA Most Valuable Player or Defensive Player of the Year before he hits free agency in 2019. Otherwise, Thompson needed to make one of the All-NBA teams to be eligible for a designated veteran extension, worth roughly $219.2 million over five additional seasons.
Thompson is currently finishing his seventh season and still under contract through 2018-19 at $19 million. Without a supermax, he can still accept an extension this offseason but for a relatively more modest four years at $102.1 million (a 20 percent bump in pay).
That's a significant salary, but it's far less than the $201.2 million, five-year contract Curry signed last summer.
It's possible all this financial hand-wringing is just background noise. Per Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, "Thompson and his representatives and the Warriors have already engaged in discussions regarding a contract extension."
Said talks reportedly occurred back in October and are expected to resume once Golden State wraps its postseason run.
But if Thompson wants to hold out for a bigger payday, he'll have to wait until he's a free agent in July 2019. With the NBA projecting a salary cap of $108 million for 2019-20, Thompson, as things stand now, would be eligible for a new deal starting at $32.4 million (up to $187.9 million over five years).
Thompson could still earn a supermax contract should he make an All-NBA Team next season (or win MVP or Defensive Player of the Year). If so, that would push his maximum back up to a deal starting at $37.8 million.
No matter how the numbers end up, the Warriors are facing significant luxury-tax concerns should they reinvest in Thompson.
After this season, All-Star Kevin Durant is planning to opt out of the last year on his deal ($26.3 million), according to ESPN's Chris Haynes, and is eligible to sign for up to roughly $158 million over four years, starting at $35.4 million.
Just accounting for Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Curry, Durant and Thompson (with the latter two signing maximum deals), the Warriors would be looking at about $147 million in salary to just five players for 2019-20.
Add in luxury taxes, a hit made worse by the fact that the Warriors will be a repeat offender in going over the cap, and the team would be near $195 million in salaries before filling their roster to at least 14 players.
Adding on perhaps $25 million in salary for the rest of the team would explode the tax bill alone to about $182 million. Even Golden State, with their two championships over the past three seasons, will probably find a $350 million payroll untenable.
The supermax is designed to help teams keep their star players. Instead, the Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers each traded away All-Stars (DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler and Paul George) before they locked in their designated veteran contracts.
Thompson missing out on the supermax may be the best thing for the Warriors if he's willing to lock in a new deal starting near $23 million.
Golden State would still face major luxury taxes, but Thompson on a lower maximum extension this summer could help reduce the team's total payroll and taxes to about $270 million.
That may still be too high of a price for the franchise to pay, but if Durant is willing to take $5 million less than the max, the team total could dip to roughly $240 million.
That's no small difference for a team that may face as many challenges in its accounting office as it does on the court in years to come.