When NBA free agency opens on Sunday afternoon, teams will be able to make offers to such major free agents as Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Jimmy Butler.
For much of the free agency process, it’s been assumed that Klay Thompson will re-sign with the Golden State Warriors, the team with which he’s spent his entire career to date. And this has been true even after Thompson was injured in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, where he suffered a knee injury that will likely keep him out much of next season.
According to a new report, there’s a chance Thompson might consider at least meeting with another team.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on the network’s free agency special Tuesday night, per Hoops Rumors, that Thompson would consider taking a meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers, in the event that he’s presented with something less than a max offer from the Warriors when free agency begins.
“If it’s not there for Klay Thompson on Sunday at 6:01 Eastern, the Warriors can then expect him to go out and take a meeting, [or] meetings. But the one team that I think, my information is that he would be open to sit down with, are the Clippers,” Wojnarowski said, according to a video of the segment posted to Twitter by ClutchPoints.
Warriors G Klay Thompson would be “very open” to meeting with LA Clippers this summer if Golden State doesn’t offer him a max contract pic.twitter.com/OpRIeXY7PF
— JDF Sports (@JDFSports) June 26, 2019
The idea for the Clippers, the reporter added, is to sell Kawhi Leonard on a “partnership” with Thompson, in which the two players would join the Clippers’ existing nucleus.
Of course, the unstated part of that assumption is that if the Warriors do, in fact, offer Thompson a max contract on the first day of free agency, that he would accept it. It’s also possible that the information was given to Woj by Thompson’s representatives, in order to provide leverage and ensure that such an offer does come on Sunday.
Another ESPN reporter, Brian Windhorst, said on the air on June 14, per The Inquisitr, that once free agency begins, he expects the Warriors to offer maximum contracts to both Thompson and Kevin Durant, the team’s other star free agent who also suffered a major injury in the NBA Finals. Windhorst also said on that segment that he expects that of the two players, the Warriors will call Thompson first.
Max deals for both players would likely put the Warriors’ payroll over $350 million once the luxury tax is figured in, which would give them the largest single-season team payroll in the history of American team sports.