The All-NBA teams were unveiled on Thursday and Klay Thompson was nowhere to be found.
Thompson, who is a week away from appearing in a fifth straight NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors, learned of the news when meeting with reporters on Thursday. He didn’t seem very pleased.
Klay Thompson learns he didn’t make All-NBA (“Oh I didn’t?”) and is clearly a little ticked (it affects his next contract): “When you go to five straight Finals, it takes more than a couple All-NBA guys...Do I think there are that many guards better than me? No.” pic.twitter.com/bW5DiBavo1— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 23, 2019
Thompson, who was named second-team All-Defense earlier this week, received the eighth-most votes among guards. The top six vote-getters — James Harden, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook and Kemba Walker — made up the All-NBA first (Harden, Curry), second (Lillard, Irving) and third (Westbrook, Walker) teams, respectively.
Walker was the final player to earn All-NBA status, collecting four second-team votes and 39 third-team votes. Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards was next in line with one second-team vote and 31 third-team votes. Thompson tallied three second-team votes and 18 third-team votes.
In the video above, Thompson, who earned third-team recognition in 2015 and 2016, was clearly miffed when learning Walker received more votes than he did.
“I respect those guys, but when you go to five straight finals, it takes more than just a couple All-NBA guys,” Thompson said. “Whatever. I’d rather win a championship than be third-team All-NBA.”
All-NBA teams have massive financial implications
For a guy like Walker, a free agent to-be, earning that All-NBA status is a big deal.
Based on rules negotiated in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, it means he is eligible for a supermax contract with the Charlotte Hornets — a deal that would total $221 million over five years. That’s $31 million more than Charlotte would have been allowed to offer him had he not been selected to an All-NBA team.
Like Walker, Thompson is also on the verge of free agency and could have seen a bump in potential earnings — up to $221 million rather than $190 million — had he been voted to the third team.
The All-NBA teams are voted on by media members from around the country. The fact that media decisions ultimately affect how much money players can earn will likely come up when the next CBA is negotiated. Asked about that, Thompson took the high road.
“It is what it is. I can’t control it,” Thompson said.
But he did make one thing clear.
“Do I think there are that many guards better than me? No,” he said.
Thompson, usually the Warriors’ third option offensively behind Curry and Kevin Durant, a second-team choice, could be more of a focal point if he signed elsewhere in free agency. That’s a choice he will be confronted with in a few months, though most believe he will re-sign with the Warriors.
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