If the Golden State Warriors don't offer Klay Thompson a full five-year, $189.7 million max contract when free agency begins Sunday evening, he's reportedly planning to take free-agent meetings and could be enticed by the Los Angeles Clippers.
ESPN's Zach Lowe said Tuesday that the Warriors have not "communicated" that they plan to offer Thompson a max contract yet, though he said he expects it to happen. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned the Clippers as the top contender for Thompson should he leave Golden State.
"If [the max] isn't there for Klay Thompson Sunday at 6:01 p.m. Eastern, the Warriors can then expect him to go out and take a meeting, meetings. The one team that my information is he would be very open to sitting down with are the Clippers. If they have the chance to be able to sell Kawhi Leonard on a partnership with Klay Thompson, certainly that's an appealing sell for any free agent and vice versa."
The expectation is that the Warriors will offer Thompson a five-year max, although it's unclear why they haven't communicated that to him yet. They could essentially end Thompson's free agency if they do.
Thompson suffered a torn ACL during Game 6 of the NBA Finals, which could complicate his free-agent options. But while Thompson will miss most if not all of the 2019-20 season, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said earlier this month that injuries do not affect the team's outlook on Thompson or Kevin Durant.
"We value those guys at the highest level. I wouldn't be a very good GM if I didn't understand how valuable they are to our own team. It sometimes gets lost. But I think when Kevin plays in the NBA Finals, we've gone 9-1. So I don't know what else matters. And Klay—they're both fantastic. Those are guys that you do everything you can to keep within your organization."
Thompson is overwhelmingly likely to return to the Warriors on a five-year deal. Perhaps the final year of the contract will be only partially guaranteed, but even that seems unlikely.
If the Warriors allow Thompson even to take a meeting, the optics here won't be great.