Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson suffered a torn right Achilles tendon during a workout yesterday in Southern California, an injury that will cost him his season, the team announced Thursday.
In a statement, the team said “Klay Thompson suffered a torn right Achilles tendon, an MRI confirmed today in Los Angeles. Thompson suffered the injury yesterday in a workout in Southern California. He is expected to miss the 2020-21 season.”
If there is a silver lining to this, Thompson was reportedly told that the type of tear he suffered is expected to fully heal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski
The Warriors were expected to return to their perch at, or at least near, the top of the NBA with the return of Thompson and Steph Curry from their injuries. They, along with Draymond Green were expected to rekindle some of the same magic that made them a juggernaut before last season.
The Warriors do have methods of at least partially making up for the loss of Thompson. They have a $17.2 million traded player exception which will allow them to make a trade without sending out anyone in return. The only requirement is that player making $17.2 million or less.
They will also likely apply for, and receive, and disabled player exception that is worth more than $9.2 million that will allow them to sign a free agent. That player can only sign a one-year contract.
The Warriors also have Andrew Wiggins, whom they acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a trade for D’Angelo Russell last season. It will be interesting to see how Wiggins performs on a team surrounded by Steph Curry and Draymond Green rather than having to carry the bulk of the load on a young team.
Regardless, there is simply no making up for the loss of Thompson, and it robs the Warriors of the “Splash Brothers” closing act with Thompson and Curry. Thompson will turn 32 in his return season, which will be the first NBA basketball he will play since the 2019 NBA Finals. Curry, meanwhile, will turn 34 that season, which puts him into the declining years of his career.
That will also be the final year of Curry’s contract. While we can expect the Warriors and Curry to work something out, the business of the NBA is unpredictable. Thompson is under contract for four more years including this upcoming 2020-21 season, making nearly $160 million over that stretch. It’s not inconceivable that he underperforms that deal because of the injuries and becomes a cap casualty at some point.
No one know what the future will hold for Golden State, but it’s clear that it became a bit murkier with this injury. It could force the Warriors to pivot this offseason and change their decision-making process, which could have ripple effects around the league.
John Karalis, masslive.com