Klay Thompson signs extension with Golden State Warriors; Ricky Rubio extends with Timberwolves

November 1, 2014

With the league's contract extension deadline looming, two members of the NBA's 2011 rookie class decided to sign extensions with their respective teams rather than seek offer sheets in the offseason as restricted free agents.  One of those players, star two-guard Klay Thompson, signed a multi-year deal with the Golden State Warriors.  Other outlets have reported that the deal is for the max, and is for four years at approximately $70 million.

“It’s hard for me to express how excited and happy I am to know that I will be playing in front of the best fans in the NBA for a long time,” said Thompson. “This team, under this ownership group and with this collection of players, has an incredibly bright future.  I could not ask for a better situation and am extremely thankful.”

Thompson is a lethal outside shooter and an underrated defender, who was expected to be pursued by several teams this upcoming offseason.  He was allegedly sought by Minnesota in the Kevin Love trade talks earlier this summer, but the Warriors wouldn't budge, and Love ended up in Cleveland.

“We’re excited to have one of the top young players in the NBA under contract for the next several years,” said Warriors General Manager Bob Myers. “Our ownership group continues to demonstrate the commitment necessary to build a championship caliber team and we anticipate that Klay Thompson will play a major role in our future success and accomplishments, both on the floor and in the Bay Area community.”

Thompson and Stephen Curry, aka the "Splash Brothers," currently form one of the league's top backcourts with their three-point shooting prowess.

In each of the last two seasons, Thompson and Curry established new NBA records for most combined three-pointers among teammates, as the tandem knocked down 483 in 2012-13 and 484 in 2013-14.  Last season, the duo ranked first and second in the NBA in three-pointers made, marking the first pair of teammates in NBA history to finish as the top-two three-point leaders in a single season.

Thompson, 24, has appeared in 230 of the team’s 231 regular-season games over his first three-plus seasons with the Warriors, posting career averages of 16.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 32.4 minutes per contest, while shooting .435 from the field, .409 from three-point range and .828 from the free throw line.

The 6’7” guard made 545 three-pointers during his first three full seasons with Golden State, the most of any player in NBA history during the first three seasons of an NBA career.  In 19 playoff games, he is averaging 15.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.00 steal in 39.6 minutes per contest.

Originally drafted by the Warriors with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Thompson earned First Team All-Rookie honors after appearing in all 66 games (29 starts) and averaging 12.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 24.4 minutes.  In 2012-13, the Los Angeles native averaged 16.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.05 steals in 82 games (all starts), while ranking third in the NBA in three-pointers made (211).  Last season, in 2013-14, Thompson averaged a career-high 18.4 points in 81 games (all starts) to go along with 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 35.4 minutes, while ranking second in the NBA in three-pointers made with a career-high 223 triples.

Thompson, who won a gold medal as part of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, currently ranks sixth in Warriors annals in three-pointers made (547) and ranks fourth in team history in three-point field goal percentage (.409).

Rubio signs extension with Minnesota

Point guard Ricky Rubio, another member of the NBA's 2011 rookie class, also signed an extension with his respective team, the Minnesota Timberwolves.  The multi-year contract extension was reported by other outlets to be for four years and worth approximately $56 million.

"I am happy to be staying with the Wolves and look forward to many successful seasons in Minnesota," Rubio said. "Our fans have been great and I am excited to be able to play in front of them for many years. I will continue to work hard to improve my game and help our team get better."

Although some aspects of his game remain unpolished, Rubio is one of the game's most creative passers, and will form part of the 'Wolves nucleus for the next few seasons along with rookie Andrew Wiggins.

Rubio completed his third season in the NBA last year by averaging 9.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and a career-high 8.6 assists - good for fourth in the NBA.  He tied the club single-game assist record by dishing out 17 dimes on Feb. 19, 2014 vs. Indiana. The 6-4 guard ranks 4th among all players with 59 double-digit assist games since the start of the 2011-12 season and his 1473 total assists since the 2011-12 season ranks fifth in the NBA.

"We are excited to sign Ricky to a contract extension and keep him as a foundation for years to come," said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Flip Saunders. "He is annually among the league leaders in assists and steals, and his intangibles make him a very valuable player to our team. Ricky is only in his fourth season and because of his work ethic and determination, we are confident that he will continue to grow as a player and a team leader. We look forward to many great years ahead of Ricky in a Timberwolves uniform."

Rubio has shown that he has recovered from his prior ACL injury, and registered a career-high and franchise-record 190 steals last season, including an NBA-high 10 games with 5+ steals. Rubio has finished second in steals per game in each of the last two seasons, including a single-season franchise record mark of 2.4 spg a season ago. His 421 steals since he entered the NBA are the second-most (Chris Paul, 478) over that span.

"This has been a long process and I am thrilled that we have reached an agreement," said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. "We drafted Ricky over three years ago and had to wait two years for him to come over. He came to us with such high expectations and he immediately proved why we were so high on him. Unfortunately he got hurt at the end of his rookie season, but he has worked so hard to come back and we believe he has a long and successful career ahead of him. He's a great foundation for our franchise and we're very happy to keep Ricky here long term to work and grow with the young nucleus that we have."

The Barcelona, Spain native was selected with the 5th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft after playing professionally overseas since 2005. He signed with the Wolves prior to the 2011-12 season and finished runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors after averaging 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 8.2 assists in 41 games.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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