'We want him back': Warriors strategize way to keep Thompson

SAN FRANCISCO -- As negotiations between the Golden State Warriors and Klay Thompson have stalled, and as the start of free agency looms, general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. reiterated his stance on the 12-year guard: "We want him back."

The Warriors will be faced with a number of roster decisions this summer in finding a way to return to championship contention -- or at least to the playoffs. But Thompson's deal presents a different level of emotional challenge.

"I think being reasonable and rational, that's always how I'm going to operate but to say about a guy like Klay Thompson, who's meant so much to this franchise, to completely strip the emotion away from it, I think that's almost impossible," Dunleavy said, speaking at his pre-draft news conference Monday.

Under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement that took effect last summer, the Warriors and Thompson were allowed to begin negotiations as soon as the NBA Finals ended. But there hasn't been much communication between the two sides, sources told ESPN.

The choice will ultimately be Thompson's, but he plans to test free agency before a decision is made, sources told ESPN.

"I think it's about what the right thing that works for the franchise and the player and the role he is in," Dunleavy said. "Factoring all of those things in is what's most important, and that's what is taking place and what we're looking at. ... There are probably varying degrees of what that value is, but that's on me to figure out what the right amount is for our team."

Another decision the Warriors have to make is surrounding veteran guard Chris Paul, who has a $30 million non-guaranteed salary for 2024-25. The Warriors have until Friday to pick it up or waive him.

"We're looking through everything," Dunleavy said. "A lot of options are still on the table in terms of keeping Chris. Obviously there's a scenario where he gets waived ... but I'd say everything is open."

Including Paul's non-guaranteed contract and the $8 million Golden State guaranteed Kevon Looney on Monday, the Warriors have $175 million in salary for 2024-25.

Owner Joe Lacob has publicly expressed his desire to duck under the luxury tax, but Dunleavy said there are scenarios in which Golden State doesn't.

"It's about being smart about it," Dunleavy said. "It's more like if there's a point to go over the tax or one of the aprons, then we will do it. The most important thing to [Lacob] is winning. He's shown that. You just have to be careful with the new rules."