Klay Thompson and the Warriors have been synonymous ever since the team drafted him with the 11th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He’s had a storybook career in Golden State, but not every star gets that perfect ending.

Thompson showed signs of decline this season. Once a good defender, he’s limited to guarding slower forwards now. He shot 38.7% from 3-point range, the second-lowest mark of his career, and was pulled from both the starting and closing lineups at various points of the year.

Thompson did still have it some nights. He topped 30 points four times, and he still managed to average 17.6 points per game. A bad year for him is still a good year for many other players.

Tight finances along with that declining play could force Thompson out the door. The Warriors are extremely expensive — they will pay an estimated $177 million into the luxury tax at the end of this season, per Spotrac. That is a hefty price tag for a Play-In team, and it looks like that will change next year.

Owner Joe Lacob has stated that the Warriors would like to be out of the tax next season and have a plan to do so. For that to happen, they would have to be extremely judicious with what they offer Thompson and fellow free agent Chris Paul. Other teams could step in and make a more competitive offer.

Here’s how this situation likely plays out.

Klay Thompson salary

This season was the final year of a five-year, $189.9 million max contract that Thompson signed back in 2019. That paid him $43.2 million for the 2023-24 season. He’s made over $260 million in his career, so money may no longer be the No. 1 priority for him.

Thompson will certainly take a substantial haircut on his upcoming deal. According to my simple salary model, he should be worth around $18 million in production next season. That’s a reasonable ballpark for what he should earn annually.

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson landing spots

Thompson doesn’t have a ton of options at his disposal if he wants to change teams this summer. Only six teams (Pistons, Sixers, Jazz, Thunder, Magic, Spurs) are projected to have enough cap space to go after him.

Further complicating matters is that a sign-and-trade with the other 23 teams operating over the cap will be tough to pull off. That would involve the Warriors taking back salary, which is the opposite of their stated goal, or pulling off some sort of complicated three-way trade.

Given those constraints, here are the most likely landing spots for Thompson, ranked from most to least likely.


Thompson wants to be on the Warriors, and the Warriors have said that they want to keep him around. Draymond Green took a pay cut to stick around for at least the last two years of Stephen Curry’s deal. Head coach Steve Kerr signed an extension to do the same.

If Thompson does re-sign, he will probably take that same route. A two-year deal in the range of $35-40 million would let him finish off his career with Curry.


It is “one of the worst-kept secrets in the league” that the Magic might throw a big offer at Thompson, per The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami.

The Magic have an estimated $25.6 million in cap space, per Spotrac’s Keith Smith, that they could use to pursue Thompson. That would likely be a lot more than the Warriors are comfortable handing out.

The Magic would be a good fit for Thompson for a number of reasons. To name a few:

Thompson would probably have a green light to gun up shots. And they’re a terrific defensive team that could cover for his declining lateral movement.


The Thunder could be legitimate championship contenders with Thompson next season. Putting him in place of Josh Giddey in the starting lineup would give OKC deadly shooting and open up the floor even more for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Thompson would also give the Thunder more playoff experience.

The Thunder have over $35 million in cap space to work with, per Smith. They could add Thompson while also going after another high-level rotation player.


The Sixers can open up a whopping $55.3 million in cap space. They are potentially going to be the biggest players in summer free agency.

Thompson is one of the best available options in a very weak class. He would make some sense as a target for them given their championship window. Could they offer a short-term overpay to pair up the shooter with Joel Embiid?

Philadelphia made a similar move back in 2017, giving JJ Redick a one-year, $23 million deal on the back end of his career. It was a different regime, but the move makes sense for the same reasons.