For years now, Klay Thompson has been a huge part of the Golden State Warriors' success, forming half of the "Splash Brothers" duo with Steph Curry.
On a star-studded team that includes him, Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, though, Thompson is often reduced to fourth fiddle, which is a surprising role for someone as talented as he is.
With a contract that expires at the end of next season, it is looking increasingly unlikely that the Warriors will have enough salary cap room to sign Thompson to a fair deal.
That's OK, though, according to former NBA star Paul Pierce. Pierce said on ESPN on Thursday that he thinks Thompson should strike out on his own, anyway, to see if he can become the leader of a franchise.
Pierce said Thompson may have four NBA titles by the time his contract expires, so there would be no reason to take a discount to stay with Golden State:
"NBA careers are so short-lived, what do you want to accomplish?" he asks. "He's accomplished All-Star, he's won championships. Now, you have to maximize your value. I think he wants to figure out if he can really maximize his potential.
"He's won - let's see if he can go to a team and be the man. I would like to see him on another team to see where does he fit in as one of the best in the NBA."
Pierce went on, adding that there's no reason Thompson shouldn't leave if the Warriors aren't able to offer him as much as another team can on the free-agent market:
"He's done everything," he continued. "You have to maximize your value in the NBA. He may win one or two more (titles) before free agency, so if he walks away with four titles, and he can make 30 or 40 more million dollars than he does with the Warriors, I have to go."
Obviously, this scenario shouldn't come as a surprise for the Warriors. They've been able to stay at the top of the NBA because of Durant taking less than maximum money and Curry playing on a woefully low salary the past few years.
As Golden State has to pay up to keep its stars, some hard decisions are going to have to be made, and one of those will likely be parting ways with Thompson.
Which team (or teams) decides to offer Thompson a max contract remains to be seen, but the talented sharpshooter should draw plenty of interest when he hits the open market.News Now - Sport News