Kuminga's looming payday is forcing the Warriors to play hardball with Thompson

Jonathan Kuminga, Klay Thompson
Jonathan Kuminga, Klay Thompson / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Lost in the Golden State Warriors' offseason storyline, which is primarily focused on whether team legend Klay Thompson will re-sign, is how much Jonathan Kuminga factors in. Kuminga was taken seventh overall in the 2021 NBA Draft and initially struggled to earn minutes before breaking out.

He even became a key contributor, averaging 16.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game this season.With him eligible for a contract extension this summer, the Warriors would be smart to try and lock him into a relatively affordable deal or risk him getting a monster offer sheet next summer.

More to that point, a recent report suggests that he could command as much as $30 million a year on his new deal, though the Warriors could potentially agree to terms on a new deal that would pay him less annually.

Should the Golden State Warriors extend Jonathan Kuminga's contract or let him hit restricted free agency next summer?

Extending Kuminga wouldn't have any impact on Golden State's salary for next season since his new contract won't kick in until the 2025–26 season. Still, Kuminga getting between $25 million and $30 million a season would likely limit how much the Warriors could and would be willing to pay Klay Thompson this summer. After all, they are just $16 million from the second apron, without Thompson under contract, though they could waive or trade Chris Paul to prevent that.

Not only that but they could look to move on from Andrew Wiggins via trade in hopes of shedding or spreading out his salary. Turning him into two rotation players, letting Thompson walk, and extending Kuminga might be key to them retooling around Steph Curry in his twilight years.

All in all, Kuminga is expected to command a big contract either this summer in the form of an extension from the Warriors or next summer as a restricted free agent. Given the Warriors salary concerns, coming to terms on a new deal in the offseason would be the best-case scenario for Golden State. However, that may result in them failing to agree to a new deal with Thompson and having him leave this summer.