Klay Thompson. (Photo: Getty Images)

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson might be playing second or third fiddle to Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant by the Bay, but that doesn't mean he won't be paid like a superstar come next summer.

 

The four-time All-Star is entering the final year of his four-year, $68.9 million deal where he'll become an unrestricted free agent next summer, joining a loaded class that is also likely to include Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. 

 

As one of the premier three-point shooters in the league, Thompson shot a career-high 44-percent from beyond the arc while averaging 20 or more points for a fourth consecutive year. Since the start of the 2015-16 season, he's averaging 21.6 points per game as the other half of Golden State's "Splash Brothers," alongside Curry. 

 

 

Thompson hasn't necessarily tipped his hand on whether or not he would leave Golden State, but he did admit to Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher that "it would be hard for me to envision going anywhere else."

 

That would entail taking a hometown discount in free agency, which isn't unprecedented considering Durant signed a cheaper deal with the Warriors last year to keep the core together.

However, Thompson would be offered an opportunity to not just sign a max deal but to become a leading man of a franchise, two incentives which could be hard to turn down. 

There will be plenty of interest once he hits the market, too:

3 teams that could go after Klay Thompson next summer

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are on the cusp of becoming the class of the NBA once again after a five-year hiatus from the playoffs. The signing of LeBron James has immediately made Los Angeles contenders as he joins a young core that features the likes of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. 

With the organization trending upwards once again and with the best player on the planet wearing purple and gold, the Lakers will be able to create one of the strongest pitches for free agents next summer. Not only will you have a chance to play in one of the nicest, most glamorous cities in the country, but you'll get to play alongside one of the greatest players of all-time. 

Expect them to be in play not just for Klay Thompson, but for Kawhi Leonard and even Kemba Walker as well. 

 

New York Knicks

While the Lakers are trending up, the Knicks are likely to stay near the bottom of the Eastern Conference for at least another season. 

With Kristaps Porzingis recovering from a torn ACL that could keep him out until at least February, New York will be trotting out an unimpressive lineup almost every night. 

But rookie Kevin Knox could very well be a future star in the NBA, which would create a youthful one-two punch alongside Porzingis for the Knicks in 2019. President Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry are also making room for two max-salary slots next summer, which means the Knicks are going to be a common name in negotiations for big stars. 

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

With Paul George and Russell Westbrook signed for the long haul, the Oklahoma City Thunder are two solid pieces away from legitimately joining the conversation as a premier Western Conference team alongside the Warriors and Houston Rockets. 

OKC is in need of a serious upgrade at the shooting guard position as Andre Roberson doesn't provide much of an offensive threat at 2. The introduction of Thompson would give the Thunder an actual Big 3, something that couldn't be done with Carmelo Anthony last year.