OAKLAND — As the Warriors introduced their trio of draft picks Monday afternoon, it didn’t take long for the conversation to shift from the addition of young talent to the matter of free agency and the retention of talent already existing on their roster.
Golden State’s general manager, Bob Myers intends to sit down with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson over the next week in hopes of re-signing each to long-term contracts. Both Durant and Thompson are expected to become free agents on June 30 at 3 p.m.
“We’ll see,” Myers said when asked if he was optimistic about the conversations he’ll have with each star.
Myers kept things very short with the media on Monday. Clearly uninterested in addressing the situation that now looms over the franchise, he was whisked away once the introductory press conference for Jordan Poole, Alen Smailagic and Eric Paschall concluded.
“This will be the only chance you’ll get to talk to Bob,” Bob Fitzgerald, who moderated the conference, said. “He has meetings after this.”
For Myers, the next week is expected to be one filled with stress and pressure as he’ll be in charge of convincing both Durant and Thompson, who will both be out for the majority of the next season, to return, presumably under max contracts.
While Durant — who suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the second quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Finals— does have a $31 million player option for the 2019-20 season, it has been widely speculated that he’ll be declining it to field offers for long-term deals.
Persuading him to stay in Golden State may be an uphill battle, though, according to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, who says that Durant is “really pissed off” at the team after they mishandled his initial calf injury, or so he believes.
“As Bob [Myers] mentioned the other night, there’s going to be blame. There’s going to be finger pointing” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said the day after Game 5. “The collaboration included Kevin and his business partner, Rich Kleiman, our medical staff, his own outside second opinion doctor, outside of our organization.”
In the event that Durant does, in fact, return to Golden State he’ll likely be fielding a five-year deal worth up to $221 million, according to CBS.com.
As for the matter of retaining Thompson, that looks to be a much easier endeavor compared to Durant.
After tearing his ACL in the third quarter of Game 6 of the Finals, Thompson was reportedly only concerned about the team’s well being rather than his own, according to his father, Mychel, per the San Francisco Chronicle.
Thompson has said on multiple occasions, on the record, that he has no desire to leave the Bay Area and the franchise that drafted him 11th overall in 2011.
As Myers scurried behind the giant blue curtain that shielded half of the Rakuten Performance Center from those in attendance, he headed up to his office, likely to work on his pitches to both Durant and Thompson.
In the next six days, he, and the rest of the Warriors organization will have their answers, no longer having to wait and see as the suspense builds around the league.