Steve Kerr: 'Feeling Is' Klay Thompson Wants to Return to Warriors as Free Agent

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2019

Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson reacts after making a 3-point basket against the Houston Rockets during the second half in Game 2 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday he believes Klay Thompson will be back with the team next season. 

"I know that everybody—coaches, management, ownership—everybody wants Klay back," Kerr said, per Nick Freidell of ESPN. "I think the feeling is just, Klay wants to be here, we want Klay."

While most of the focus has been on Kevin Durant's impending free agency, Thompson will also hit the market without a shortage of suitors. The five-time All-Star has widely been considered likely to return to Golden State this summer, but things could get murky if the Warriors choose to not offer him the five-year, $190 million max.

"If they come with a five-year, $190 million max deal for Klay Thompson, that's done on July 1—he's going into the new building with Steph Curry," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said on Monday's Get Up. "If they try to do anything less than that, you can expect Klay Thompson to be out in free agency. Watch not for the Lakers then, but the Clippers."

Speculation on Thompson's future has largely been quiet because the expectation has been the Warriors will come through with the max. With Durant's future considered extremely up in the air—it could be argued the Warriors are favored to lose him in July—the team can ill-afford to open the Chase Center without the Splash Brothers intact.

Thompson told Friedell his time helping build the Warriors from the bottom of the league into a juggernaut has given him an appreciation for the organization.

"I think it's just the only thing I've known professionally," Thompson said. "I saw the dark days and now I've seen the glory days. And it's cool to see the process. You appreciate the work it takes to get there. It's simple. I just appreciate how long it took to get to the mountaintop, the work it did, and just seeing how—empower people in the community and really build this fan base to something special."

There really shouldn't be much surprise when Thompson inks a max contract July 1. The Warriors ownership group is not lacking in finances, and they recognize Thompson is a big reason this franchise has gone from also ran to one of the marquee names in basketball.

Even if they'd fall out of title favorite status in a post-Durant era, Thompson, Curry and Draymond Green are good enough to lock them into the playoffs for the foreseeable future.