Steve Kerr and Klay Thompson are both entering the final year of their contracts with the Warriors
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Training camp starts in less than a week, and the Warriors only have a few loose ends to tie up. Two of the biggest unfinished business concerns head coach Steve Kerr and All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson.
Thompson is in the final year of his five-year, $189.9 million contract and is eligible for an extension. Kerr is in the final year of his contract and is eligible for an extension as well. General manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. stated at a pre-training camp press conference on Monday that the team wants both men back long term and that the feeling appears mutual, adding that there is “no timeline” for either deal to be completed but that they are “optimistic” both parties can agree on an extension.
“I think there’s a desire to extend or be back or you know make sure those guys are in the fold with the Golden State Warriors moving forward,” he stated. “I believe both sides feel this way. I believe you can reach an agreement while working off that idea, and hopefully we can.”
Kerr has been the head coach of the Warriors since May 2014, winning four championships along the way and becoming the third-longest tenured NBA coach behind Gregg Popovich of San Antonio (since 1996) and Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat (since 2008). Many successful head coaches have been fired in the current climate, including Phoenix’s Monty Williams and Toronto’s Nick Nurse, to name a few. Kerr, on the other hand, has institutional success and popularity on his side, and he didn’t appear concerned about the extension talks.
“I feel great about my position here,” he stated. “I’d like to be here. I know Mike (Dunleavy) and Joe (Lacob) want me here, so I’m confident that something will be done. But I’m not worried about it in the least. I can coach whether I have one year left on my contract or an extension. It doesn’t make a difference. But I fully intend to be present.”
Kerr is set to receive a significant raise as a result of his peers’ recent deals.
After being fired by the Phoenix Suns, Williams agreed to a six-year, $78.5 million contract with the Detroit Pistons. Popovich then signed a five-year extension with the San Antonio Spurs, reportedly worth $80 million. With his resume, Kerr could demand a salary comparable to or greater than Popovich’s.
Thompson’s contract expires at a time when the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement may influence negotiations. The Warriors will enter the season with a payroll that exceeds the new second apron luxury tax, which means they will lose their midlevel exception, ability to sign big-contract buyout players, and future draft picks if they continue to have a payroll that exceeds $182,794,000 (their total salary is expected to be around $208 million).
This year, Thompson, 32, will earn $43.3 million. Though Thompson had an overall strong season last year (despite a poor playoff performance against the Lakers), he may want to play out his contract year and see what offers he can get in the free-agent market next year. If both teams want to reach an agreement, the Warriors will almost certainly ask Thompson for a discount from his current contract in order to avoid paying the luxury tax, similar to the discount Draymond Green took at the start of the offseason.