Warriors GM Mike Dunleavy remains hopeful that Klay Thompson will return

SAN FRANCISCO — Klay Thompson has been a pillar of the Golden State Warriors dynasty that won four NBA titles the past decade. Whether he will be part of the franchise as the team looks to rebound after missing the playoffs remains unknown.

Thompson is set to become a free agent on July 1 as the two sides have been unable to agree on an extension to keep Stephen Curry’s Splash Brothers running mate on the team.

“We want him back,” general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. said Monday. “We’ve said that all along. Hopefully he’ll come back. But as far as the specifics and discussions and those types of things, I think it’s important to keep in-house and that stuff. When we figure out a solution to all that, we’ll have news for you.”

The 34-year-old Thompson just finished the final season of a five-year contract worth nearly $190 million. He lost his starting job during the season and struggled to match the form he had before two serious injuries forced him to miss two entire seasons.

Thompson has been a major part of a franchise that won four championships and made six trips to the NBA Finals from 2015-22. Thompson’s 2,481 made 3-pointers in the regular season are the sixth most in NBA history and the 501 he has made in the playoffs are more than anyone other than Curry.

But his scoring average dropped to 17.9 points per game this past season — his lowest since his second season in the NBA — and he no longer had the athleticism that made him one of the top perimeter defenders at his peak.

Thompson ended his season by missing all 10 shots in a play-in loss to Sacramento, leading to the first time the Warriors missed the playoffs in a season when they had the trio of Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green healthy.

But Dunleavy acknowledges that there is sentimental value in keeping Thompson for the long term.

“I think I’m reasonable, I’m rational. That’s how I’m always going to operate,” Dunleavy said. “But to say a guy like Klay Thompson, who has meant so much to this franchise, to completely strip the emotion away from it, I think that’s almost impossible. But this is a business. We’ll talk through things and continue to talk through things. Like I said, we are hopeful but you know, we’ll see. We’ve got to figure things out.”

Dunleavy said he would be very hesitant to trade key young players like Jonathan Kuminga, Brandin Podziemski, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Moses Moody, believing they will continue to develop and complement the veteran core with the 36-year-old Curry, the 34-year-old Green and possibly Thompson.

“We really value those guys. We’ve drafted them. We’ve grown them. They have played really well,” Dunleavy said. “We are excited about them. A scenario to move them would take a lot. It’s important for us to be good now and then be good also in the future. But like the main thing is, we think those guys can contribute and help our group now. If that was not the case, we would be more open to stuff but it is.”

The Warriors have a more immediate decision to make on the status of guard Chris Paul, with a deadline Friday of whether to exercise a $30 million team option for next season or waive him.

Paul played mostly off the bench in his first season with Golden State, averaging 9.2 points, 6.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game.

Dunleavy said all options are open with Paul, including a potential trade in July if Golden State picks up the option.

The Warriors also made the decision to guarantee Kevon Looney’s $8 million contract for next season instead of waiving him and paying him only $3 million guaranteed. Looney averaged 4.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in 74 games last season, playing mostly as a backup to rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis.

The move gives the Warriors the option to keep Looney or use him as a part of a trade in July.

“I just think we value him so much as a player, as a teammate, as a core piece of this organization,” Dunleavy said. “So to move on without him, without anything in return or to move on without him and just not be able to fill that void just didn’t make a ton of sense for us. So we were good with picking up his contract.”


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