With the frenzy that is NBA free agency set to commence at 6:00 pm ET on June 30, very little is assured in league circles. One widely assumed marriage of player and team is Klay Thompson remaining with the Golden State Warriors but, with reporting from Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, there is a potential that even that partnership could fall apart if one specific domino does not fall.
As Turner notes, the Los Angeles Lakers now have the ability to offer a max contract to Thompson and the Los Angeles Clippers have the same mechanism, particularly if they do not connect with long-standing plans to sign Thompson. Still, there is a widespread belief (including from his father) that Thompson will stick around Oakland if the money is right and that is the pivot point in this scenario.
Even with Thompson’s torn ACL suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals, the Warriors are expected to present him with a max contract offer. On one hand, Golden State has the potential to tie up more than $60 million in Thompson and Kevin Durant, both of whom could conceivably miss the entire 2019-20 season. On the other, the Warriors are famously moving into a new arena and, in short, cash flow isn’t expected to be an issue.
At the end of the day, the Warriors hold the ultimate trump card and even this reporting indicates that Thompson’s decision might be an easy one if his incumbent team puts it on the table. However, the Lakers and Clippers would undoubtedly love to have a chance to pitch the All-Star shooting guard and things might get interesting if Golden State tries to pinch pennies in any way, shape or form.