The general consensus is that Klay Thompson will improve as a player in 2022–23 compared to his first campaign back after missing two and a half seasons due to injuries. The veteran sharpshooter had his first healthy summer since 2018, but he didn’t start practising with his teammates until a week before the start of the regular season. He missed the whole preseason before playing in the Golden State Warriors’ exhibition finale.
Does the Warriors’ training staff’s extraordinary caution indicate that Thompson has suffered a health setback? Hardly. Now that Thompson is 32 and has previously experienced and recovered from major back-to-back injuries like a torn ACL and ruptured Achilles tendon, it is simply a reality of his NBA career.
Nevertheless, one local reporter continued to read into Thompson’s buildup to the 82-game slog, even speculating that the four-time champion would retire once his current contract expires in 2024.
At the conclusion of his media appearance on Thursday, Thomson vehemently denied that prospect, labelling the idea that he would hang up his cleats in two years “stupid s***” and “absurd.”
Klay Thompson, unprompted, addresses report(?) he has plans to retire in 2024.
“I have no intention of retiring in 2024. If you write some dumb s*** like that, just be held accountable, cause that’s crazy….Like, that is absurd.” pic.twitter.com/TfNghod7FJ
— Jack Winter (@ArmstrongWinter) October 20, 2022
When he spoke on KNBR radio on Monday, Thompson seemed to be alluding to remarks made by Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle.
“The reality is that Klay does have two more years on his deal,” Letourneau said, per KNBR.com. “I personally would not be shocked if Klay just retired from basketball at the end of that contract. I don t think it s going to be between this season and next season. If he does retire in the near future it would be after his contract ends.”
To be fair to Letourneau, he made it abundantly obvious that the idea of Thompson’s retirement was his own. It also resulted from past talks in which Thompson made it obvious that he’s still overcoming “mental difficulties” related to his injuries, while performing admirably on his way to another title.
“He was very open with me about how the trauma from that experience is very real,” Letourneau said. “He s been doing mediation and visualization. My big takeaway from that conversation was, just because he played well in the Finals, doesn t mean the aftermath of that Achilles injury and those back-to-back injuries is over. He s still got mental hurdles to overcome and we all need to realize that, and the Warriors understand that.”
The Warriors’ reluctance to let Thompson play 5-on-5 or resume his usual workload may have more to do with his ongoing mental acclimatisation than anyone has publicly acknowledged. Given how open he has previously been about the intense emotional challenges brought on by his injuries, it wouldn’t be shocking.
In either case, one thing is certain: Klay Thompson has no intention of retiring in 2024.
The article “Klay Thompson responds to the “stupid s***” 2024 retirement report” originally published on ClutchPoints.