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OAKLAND -- After all the months of posturing and posing and swimming against the tide, Joe Lacob couldn't help himself. The Warriors CEO on Friday signed off on a four-year, $70 million contract extension for guard Klay Thompson.
The agreement beat the negotiating deadline (9 p.m. Friday) by mere hours.
Thompson's extension, which begins in 2015-16 and runs through 2018-19, pushes the Warriors toward the luxury tax next season. Thompson is the fifth player on the current roster who will make at least $11 million next year.
But this is what Thompson and his agent, Bill Duffy, wanted. It's what Thompson's teammates desired.
More to the point, this is what rookie coach Steve Kerr desperately wanted and what NBA legend and executive board member Jerry West practically insisted upon. Given their status within the organization, Lacob felt compelled to authorize the move.
Early Friday afternoon, maybe an hour before the sides reached agreement, Kerr expressed faith that a deal would get done.
"I'm pretty confident in Klay that he's just going to play," Kerr said when asked if an unresolved situation might affect Thompson. "I'm also quietly confident that something will get done today and we can put it behind us."
Thompson's contract is fully guaranteed, avoiding the opt-out clause that was discussed by both sides.
Yet there was, up until the minute the deal was made, real reason for skepticism. As late as Friday morning, the sides were apart by more than $1 million per season.
Only three weeks ago the sides were at least $3 million apart, the Warriors offering no more than $13 million per season and Duffy seeking about $16 million. Those numbers stayed on ice long enough that there were times when both sides wondered if there would be any movement.
Negotiations stalled several times but never completely stopped. They gained momentum this week, particularly over the past two days, as other members of the same draft class -- 2011 -- either signed or were placed on hold.
Thompson, taken 11th overall in that draft, has established himself as one of the top four players from that group. Kyrie Irving, taken first overall, is an All-Star and in July agreed to a five-year extension with the Cavaliers worth $90 million. Kemba Walker, taken ninth overall by Charlotte, agreed this week to a four-year extension worth $48 million. Kenneth Faried, taken 22nd overall, agreed to a four-year, $52 million extension with the Nuggets.
[RELATED: Klay Thompson career stats]
Notable among those still without an extension is Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, who is seeking a deal similar to that which Thompson will sign.
Thompson, 24, is considered one of the league's best two-way players. He made the Team USA roster and impressed coaches and teammates as the team was on its way to winning the gold medal in the FIBA World Cup.
And now he's set to be a Warrior for at least five more years.
So deep was the team's desire to keep him that Lacob took a giant leap toward the luxury tax he'd rather avoid.