Mavs' Klay Thompson aims to be 'rejuvenated' by fresh start

ByTim MacMahon ESPN logo
Tuesday, July 9, 2024

DALLAS -- Klay Thompsonsaid he has moved past the disappointment over realizing a "breakup" with the Golden State Warriorsafter a historic 13-year run was in his best interest and is now determined to rediscover his joy for the game with a new franchise.

Thompson smiled throughout Tuesday's news conference at the Dallas Mavericks' practice facility, where he was introduced along with the team's other offseason acquisitions: forward Naji Marshall and shooting guard Quentin Grimes.

"Coming here is just such a fresh start," Thompson said. "Feeling just wanted again, like I bring great value, it just gets me excited to go out there and even work out after this press conference and get shots up. Yeah, there was times last year where it was tough, where it wasn't as joyful as it was in the past.

"It's nice to kind of shed that and have a whole new fresh start, whole new group of guys to get to know, co-workers, whole new city. It's really cool, and I'm going to embrace the heck out of this opportunity."

The Warriors have vowed to retire Thompson's No. 11 to honor him for a tenure that was highlighted by four NBA championships and five All-Star appearances as half of the "Splash Brothers" along with Stephen Curry. Golden State coach Steve Kerr and Curry spoke this week at Team USA's training camp about how much they will miss Thompson.

But Thompson reached the conclusion that it was time to close that chapter of his career after negotiations on his next contract were not a priority for the Warriors, who unsuccessfully attempted to acquire Paul George in a sign-and-trade deal last month.

After meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Mavericks in free agency, Thompson decided to come to Dallas, believing he could help the Mavs get "over the hump" after their NBA Finals appearance this season.

"I look forward to just kind of being rejuvenated here -- a lot of good basketball left in the tank," said Thompson, who signed a three-year, $50 million contract with the Mavs.

Thompson, 34, has not been an All-Star since missing 2 seasons of his prime due to a torn ACL suffered in the 2019 Finals and a ruptured Achilles suffered during the 2020 offseason. However, he remains one of the league's premier 3-point threats, averaging 17.9 points per game and shooting 38.7% on high volume from beyond the arc last season.

The Mavs envision Thompson as an excellent complement to their star duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

"At this point in my career, I mean, you still can't leave me open," Thompson said.

With his familiar jersey number belonging to Irving in Dallas, Thompson will wear No. 31 for the Mavs. He mentioned that it was Jason Terry's number when the Mavs won their championship, but Thompson's primary motivation for choosing No. 31 is to honor Reggie Miller, his childhood inspiration. Thompson needs 80 3-pointers to pass Miller for fifth on the career list.

Thompson eagerly anticipates getting a lot of open looks playing alongside Doncic and Irving, his 2011 draft classmate and two-time Team USA teammate who helped recruit him to Dallas.

"I don't think you can stick to me as much as you could in the past with guys like Luka and Kai out there," Thompson said. "That's what also was very attractive for me.

"I'm just excited. I still think I can do what I've been able to do, and it's just about being in the best shape I could possibly be, but I know I can help this team, whether it's the knowledge I've gained or big scoring nights. I just still know I can be a very, very good player in this league."

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