Warriors are pushing for Klay Thompson's return after loss

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson headed to the bench with 2:13 remaining in the play-in game against the Sacramento Kings, his head was hanging low. He gave a round of hugs with the team's coaches and teammates before taking his seat. After the final buzzer sounded, he took a moment before walking off the court to catch a glimpse of the Kings lighting up the crossbar.

This may have been Thompson's last game with the Warriors.

The 118-94 loss to the Kings sent Golden State to its closest season in three years. Thompson was sent to unrestricted free agency.

“We need Klay back,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “He still has good years ahead of him. And I know I speak for everyone in the organization: We want him back. … What Klay means to this franchise and as good as he is, we want him back badly.”

Thompson did not speak after the game, but during filming about seven hours before tipoff, he said it wasn't difficult to put thoughts of free agency out of his mind as he finished the season.

“That's life,” Thompson said. “I've had a lot of success here, and I'm not going to let anything that happens in the future make me worry about what I've been able to accomplish in a Warriors uniform. I'm not letting that get to my mind at all.”

The end of Thompson's season left a lot to be desired, as he was held scoreless on 0-of-10 shooting, including 0-of-6 from 3. It was only the fifth time in Thompson's career that he failed to record a single point. It was his second time under Kerr, but the other time was when he was ejected at 1:43 in a November 23 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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It was a performance Kerr said was difficult to watch Thompson go through.

“I've watched him the last two years battle the devastation caused by injuries and I've watched him this season turn his season around,” Kerr said. “I saw him enjoying the second half of the season and playing with more freedom and joy, so it was difficult to see him struggle tonight.”

Thompson entered Tuesday's play-in game after what he called “the best stretch of basketball of the year.” Over the final four and a half weeks of the regular season, Thompson ranked second on the team in scoring, averaging 21.2 points on 48.1% field goal shooting and 41.2% from 3.

The 77 games he played were his most since the 2018-19 season — before he tore his ACL and Achilles tendon.

“It's about giving him credit in what's been a hell of a year,” Stephen Curry said. “Everyone will talk about one game, and I know he wanted to do better. We've been through over 82 games, and the fact that he was able to turn his season around with a new role and an adjustment…just really enjoying playing basketball and being at peace with everything, “I'm more worried about that.”

Talks about a new deal between Thompson and the organization stalled as the season began in the fall. They were never restarted during the season, but there wasn't much concern about that as the Warriors had their ups and downs, Green's suspension, the death of assistant coach Dejan Milojevic, and Thompson was on his way out of a personal mess.

But sources told ESPN that throughout the season, there wasn't much reassurance that there would undoubtedly be a resolution between the two parties. This is what bothered Thompson, more than anything else.

However, Green remains confident that a new agreement will be reached.

“[Klay is] He will make the decision that is best for him, the team has to make a decision and he will make the decision that is best for the team. “I don't think there is any scenario for Klay to leave, and this is the best decision for this team and this organization,” Green said.[The organization] He showed nothing but respect, loyalty, love and trust. I have no reason to believe, man, that they wouldn't do right by Clay.

“I have no reason to believe that our ownership group will not take care of us the way we have taken care of this organization.”

Green is under contract with the Warriors through the 2025-26 season, with a player option pending in 2026-27. The deals for Curry and Kerr also keep them with the team through the end of 2026.

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Sources told ESPN that Thompson's desire is to enter into a contract that is in line with the rest of the Warriors' dynasty.

“I don't think there's any scenario where Klay leaves and that's the best decision for this team and this organization. (The organization) has shown nothing but respect, loyalty, love and trust. I have no reason to think, man.” They won't do right by Clay, and I have no reason to believe that our ownership group won't take care of us the way we've taken care of this organization.

Draymond Green

“I could never see myself with those two guys,” Curry said. He added: “I understand that this league is changing and there are a lot of things that go into it and we won't play forever, but we have seen a lot together and at the end of the day I know they want to win, I know that.” “I want to win, that's all I'm worried about.”

The ending of their season by a Kings team that showed “total dominance” was described as a terrible, frustrating and upsetting feeling.

So, along with the desire to keep this group together, there is a realization that changes must be made in order for the Warriors to return to contention in a very crowded Western Conference.

“That's life. That's the way it goes. You can't stay at the top forever,” Kerr said. “We have a break where we have a lot to think about.”

But Curry said it's too early to say exactly what needs to change.

“It's raw now,” he said. “I'm just thinking about whether or not I want to watch the playoffs. On April 16, this is unfamiliar territory. … I just want to win. Whatever that means, I want to win.”

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