MNO Sports >MMA Arena >Klay Thompson, Mavericks reportedly have "strong mutual interest," Warriors focused on Paul George - NBC Sports

Klay Thompson, Mavericks reportedly have "strong mutual interest," Warriors focused on Paul George - NBC Sports


LA Clippers v Golden State Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 8: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers talks with Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors after the game on March 8, 2022 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Klay Thompson’s time with the Golden State Warriors — 13 seasons and four rings — appears about to end. And Paul George might slide into his place in the Bay Area.

Thompson and the Warriors remain nowhere close in negotiations for a new contract and his agent has been testing the waters — and Thompson could be catching passes from Luka Doncic next season. There is a “strong mutual interest between Thompson and the Dallas Mavericks,” Marc Stein reported in his latest newsletter.

On the court, it’s easy to see how Thompson fits. He may not be the player he was at his peak, but the 34-year-old averaged 17.9 points a game last season while shooting 38.7% from beyond the arc. He could step into the role that belonged to Tim Hardaway Jr., whom the Mavericks just traded to the Pistons (although that could require Thompson coming off the bench).

The problem is that getting Thompson to Dallas would require a sign-and-trade trade with Golden State, where the Warriors could drive a hard bargain. Thompson reportedly is seeking a contract worth well above $20 million annually but all the Mavericks can offer to a free agent is the $12.9 million mid-level exception, and Dallas has that money targeted to bring back Derrick Jones Jr. (which Mavs president Nico Harrison said was the team’s top offseason priority).

The Warriors and Mavericks could work out a sign-and-trade, something like Josh Green and Maxi Kleber for Thompson re-signed at $22 million a season. Would Dallas want to give up two rotation players for a 34-year-old two-guard? On the other side, is a trade like that good enough for Golden State, or would it want a pick, too? The Warriors are into the second apron, so there are restrictions on any trade and how much money they can take back.

The Warriors are focused elsewhere, having “prioritized” getting Paul George up to the Bay Area, Stein reports.

George and the Clippers are nowhere near a contract extension — George wants four years and $221 million, his max, while the Clippers reportedly are offering more like three years, $150 million. George looked at the free agent market and could still go that route — Philadelphia still has interest even if those talks have cooled, and Orlando is out there — but the expectation around the league now is that George will opt into his $48.8 million later on Saturday and ask for a trade. The Clippers are asking for a lot in any deal. Denver and the Clippers talked George trade — at least preliminarily — but the Clippers wanted Michael Porter Jr., Zeke Nnaji and a “significant amount of draft capital” according to Anthony Slater and Sam Amick of The Athletic. That was too rich for Denver.

A Clippers and Warriors trade would be tricky because both teams are over the second apron of the tax, so this would have to be dollar-for-dollar. A trade like Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, Chris Paul — with just enough of his salary guaranteed to make the math work, then the Clippers can waive him — and a first-round pick for George could work on paper, but will both sides go for it? The Warriors want to keep Kuminga, the Clippers might ask for Moses Moody plus Kuminga, then there’s simply the question of whether Clippers owner Steve Ballmer would sign off on sending George to a division rival.

Both Thompson and George seem destined for new teams next season, but putting together trades for either of them is a complex jigsaw puzzle.

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