Klay Thompson jokingly asked Brandin Podziemski to stop ‘pocket watching’ after rookie pointed out $39,867,000 pay disparity: Warriors Insider

Klay Thompson and Brandin Podziemski have been in the middle of the biggest controversy surrounding the Golden State Warriors this season. For the first time since 2012, Thompson’s first year in the NBA, the four-time champ has been relegated to the bench in favor of Podziemski. Warriors coach Steve Kerr has put his trust more in the rookie to close out games and recently to start over the much-heralded star.

Before the season even started, the Warriors players already experienced the competitive fire burning in the former Santa Clara standout. Podziemski would go after Steph Curry and the other veterans to ask questions and challenge them in practice. The rookie even tried to compare his salary with that of Thompson. “Game 6 Klay” reportedly told Podziemski to stop “pocket-watching.”

Klay Thompson is on the final of a five-year $189.9 million contract he signed in 2019. He will be earning $43 million this season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Brandin Podziemski, meanwhile, signed a four-year $16.2 million rookie deal. This season, he is on the books for $3.3 million. Podziemski knows his salary isn’t even on the same planet as Thompson’s but that did not stop him from trying to compare their respective contracts.

Brandin Podziemski could solidify his role in Steve Kerr’s rotation at the expense of Klay Thompson

Early this month, Klay Thompson expressed his disappointment and frustration in not closing out games. Steve Kerr has preferred Brandin Podziemski, Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and Draymond Green in crucial late-game situations. The other half of the “Splash Bros.” has hardly seen action past the last six minutes of the fourth quarter.

Against the Utah Jazz on Feb. 15, Kerr went as far as to remove Thompson from the starting lineup in favor of Podziemski. The five-time All-Star responded to Kerr’s move by dropping a team-high 35 points to help the Warriors to a 140-137 win. Thompson was on the floor to close out the game.

After the game, Steve Kerr told the media that he was happy with the way Klay Thompson responded but he wouldn’t insert him into the first five yet. Kerr will be looking to see how Thompson will consistently play well in his new role. If he continues to have a roller-coaster ride, he will likely get stuck on the bench while Brandin Podziemski keeps his new role.

Thompson is earning much higher than Podziemski but their role reversal signifies who the Warriors have valued more this season.

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Edited by Michael Macasero

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