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Steve Kerr Candidly Reflects on Klay Thompson Deciding to Leave Warriors

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Steve Kerr Candidly Reflects on Klay Thompson Deciding to Leave Warriors


The Golden State Warriors and Klay Thompson parted ways this offseason, 13 years after the organization drafted him with the No. 11 pick in the draft.

Stephen Curry admitted over the weekend that the reality of Thompson’s departure hasn’t fully sunken in yet. On Wednesday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr addressed Thompson’s decision to join the Dallas Mavericks during an appearance on 95.7 The Game’s Willard and Dibs, saying that the 34-year-old “really needed this career change.”

“From 2014–19, pre-injury, Klay was unflappable. He rarely required much maintenance from me as a coach. He was just so happy playing and playing at a high level. I would check in with him and he was always fine and loving life. That changed after the two injuries.

“He’s struggled to try to get himself back to that level. Even though I think he played really well at times for us over the last few years and obviously helped us win a championship… He was still a really high-level player. In his own mind and I think in the minds of everyone watching, he wasn’t the same guy as he was prior to the injuries. And Klay really struggled with that,” Kerr said of the five-time All-Star.

Thompson missed the entirety of both the 2019–20 and 2020–21 seasons while dealing with injuries. Kerr noted that it’s not been an easy adjustment for the veteran sharpshooter to return to his previous form.

“The stuff that went on organizationally, honestly I think that stuff is all a by product of the frustration with the injuries,” he added. “We were always in great stead with Klay in terms of our relationship and communicating how we felt about him. In the end, he really needed this career change and I think it’s going to be good for him.”

Thompson’s rookie season with the Warriors was Mark Jackson’s first year as the organization’s head coach. By the time Steve Kerr arrived in 2014, he’d developed into one of the game’s best sharpshooters and a reliable No. 2 option alongside Curry. Thompson has been one of the faces of the franchise throughout Kerr’s entire tenure with the team, helping to secure four championships.

With that chapter of Thompson’s career officially behind him, Kerr candidly admitted he felt the split was what was best.



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