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Saturday 27 February 2021

Klay stays as Warriors CEO promises to retire Durant jersey

With a fresh $190 million contract, Thompson felt the need to channel Jordan Belfort.

LEONARDO DI CAPRIO and Martin Scorcese may not have known the meme-able power of the iconic ‘I’m not fuckin’ leaving’ Wolf of Wall Street scene when they shot it, but it continues to stir something deep within sportsmen and their fans.

A day on from the news that Kevin Durant had played his last game for the Golden State Warriors, Klay Thompson gave a fillip to Bay Area fans as he put an end to speculation over his own free agency prospects.

Thompson has reportedly signed a five-year $190 (€168) million contract – figures even Jordan Belfort wouldn’t turn his nose up at – to play in San Francisco and shared the clip of Stratton Oakmont’s shining moment on Instagram to celebrate.

View this post on Instagram

Mood (there was never a doubt) #warrior4life

A post shared by Klay Thompson (@klaythompson) on

Earlier today,  Warriors co-chairman and chief executive Joe Lacob said that he plans to effectively retire Durant’s number 35 jersey in tribute to the Brooklyn-bound star.

The 30-year-old forward agreed to a free agent deal with the Brooklyn Nets yesterday, joining Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan in blockbuster dealmaking moves to make the New York club a title contender once Durant recovers from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Durant won two NBA titles in his first two seasons with Golden State in 2017 and 2018 and helped get the Warriors into last month’s NBA Finals, where they lost to the Toronto Raptors.

Durant missed nine games in the playoffs with a calf injury then played only 12 minutes in game five of the NBA Finals before rupturing his right Achilles tendon, an injury that required surgery and is expected to sideline him for the entire 2019-20 season.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors File photo: Thompson and Durant celebrate. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

“Today, as he starts a new chapter in his incredible career, we thank KD for all of his contributions, for being an integral part to one of the most prolific runs in NBA history and wish him well as he continues his Hall of Fame journey,” Lacob said in a statement.

As long as I’m co-chairman of this team, no player will ever wear number 35 for the Warriors again.”

That should effectively mean Durant’s number will be retired long-term by the club, with Lacob’s team moving to a new $1 billion home arena in San Francisco next season.

“Three years ago, we were thrilled with the arrival of Kevin Durant, a transformative NBA player and one of the best to ever play the game,” Lacob said.

“He provided our fans and franchise with numerous highlights during his stay here — two NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVPs, three trips to the Finals, unparalleled efficiency — and carried himself with class and dignity both on and off the court.”

Lacob also cited Durant winning the NBA’s annual Community Assist Award last year for philanthropic efforts.

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