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Suns’ Booker addresses reality of Klay playing in non-Warriors jersey


Suns’ Booker addresses reality of Klay playing in non-Warriors jersey

Suns’ Booker addresses reality of Klay playing in non-Warriors jersey originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

LAS VEGAS – The night of Oct. 25, 2022 was an uncharacteristic one for Klay Thompson. The now former Warriors shooting guard, in his 12th NBA season, was ejected for the first time in the third quarter of an eventual 29-point loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Walking back to his sidelines in the desert during a timeout, Thompson went chest-to-chest on Suns star shooting guard Devin Booker. The two received double technical fouls but an irate Klay wasn’t done letting his frustrations out. Ed Malloy had seen enough.

The official handed Thompson a second technical, ending his night scoring only 2 points on 1-of-8 shooting. None of his five 3-point attempts were successful.

Booker, six-and-a-half years younger than Thompson, scored a game-high 34 points on 10-of-19 shooting. But one night doesn’t tell the whole story.

There’s longstanding mutual respect between Booker and Thompson, and the Suns’ four-time NBA All-Star and current member of Team USA Men’s Basketball still is wrapping his head around Thompson wearing different colors aside from the Warriors’ blue and gold after signing a three-year, $50 million contract to join the Dallas Mavericks this offseason in free agency.

“I think it’s going to take some adjusting,” Booker said Saturday at UNLV following the first day of Team USA training camp. “He’s one of those guys that you can’t imagine outside of the jersey he was drafted in.”

The Mavericks last season on their way to the NBA Finals finished one win ahead of Booker’s Suns in the regular-season standings. While the Mavs won 50 games and finished as the No. 5 seed in the West, Phoenix totaled 49 wins but were swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs.

Through the first nine years of Booker’s NBA career, he already has played Thompson 19 times. The Warriors have been victors more than not, though they did fall to Phoenix in two of three games this past season. Thompson and the Warriors have beaten Booker in 12 of 19 contests, and the younger sharpshooter has outscored his elder in 10 of said games.

Their battles are far from over.

The Suns and Mavs squared off three times last season, and the champions of the West were winners twice. Booker might have to rub his eyes and make sure he’s seeing things clearly when he first looks across the court and sees Thompson in his Dallas threads. Booker also already is looking forward to the next stage of competing against one another.

“It’s a new opportunity for him,” Booker said. “I’m sure he’s going to take full advantage of it. I’m looking forward to matching up against him in a different jersey, and he’s somebody that I’ve spoke highly about for a very long time.”

Exiting the court upon his first career ejection, Thompson pointed to his left ring finger. Flashing four fingers as an ode to his four championship rings as a member of the Warriors that night is something Thompson regrets. Booker still is seeking his first title.

To get there, the road begins in Dallas – marking yet another date locking horns with Thompson at a location that will take some time getting used to.

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