Stephen A.: Klay Thompson 'Unhappy' with 'Crumbs'; Warriors 'Swear' to Retain SG

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2019

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) walks to the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)
Reinhold Matay/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson has become unhappy with his secondary role on the star-studded roster, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said on Tuesday's edition of First Take.

"I'm told Klay Thompson—I have not spoken to Klay Thompson, in fairness to Klay Thompson, so let me be clear about that. I'm told Klay Thompson isn't happy," Smith said. "His number hasn't been called nearly enough. He's tired of sitting around and getting quote-unquote, this is a quote, 'the crumbs' left behind by other people."

The 29-year-old Los Angeles native will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Smith noted the five-time All-Star wants assurances he won't fall down the pecking order again if Kevin Durant leaves in free agency this summer.

"So if they think [Durant is] going to leave, then the priority is going to be Klay," Smith said. "And the question for Klay is, 'All right, I appreciate the money that you gonna give me, and the fact that it's going to be about me and Steph [Curry], but who else you bringing in to replace Kevin Durant because that might still leave me as the third wheel.'"

Smith concluded about the Warriors: "They swear they won't lose Klay Thompson."

The third-wheel argument isn't backed up by the numbers, though.

Thompson averaged a career-high 18.0 field-goal attempts per game during the regular season, more than Durant (17.7) and tied for 16th in the NBA.

If the three-time NBA champion is worried about his offensive impact, leaving the Warriors wouldn't guarantee much additional usage. That's especially true if he wants to land with a team in championship contention, which would have two or three other high-profile players on the roster.

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Smith reported some notable executives around the league have stressed to Golden State the importance of keeping Thompson and Curry together:

"But where it gets interesting is that although Golden State would love to keep the three, they anticipate Kevin Durant leaving. Which is why even individuals, from what I'm told, even individuals like Pat Riley have spoken to folks within the Warriors organization to say, 'Your priority better be keeping the Splash Brothers together.' Not only have they heard that from Pat Riley, they've heard it from ... Jerry West, they've heard it from others, keeping the Splash Brothers together."

If true, that would raise questions about why West, a former Warriors executive who currently works for the Los Angeles Clippers, would be urging Golden State to re-sign Thompson, who could be of interest to his hometown Clippers on the open market.

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The situation puts more pressure on the Warriors to complete their quest for a three-peat because the team could look much different next season.

Golden State is tied with the Houston Rockets at two games apiece in the Western Conference semifinals. The series resumes Wednesday at Oracle Arena at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

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