Clippers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson, right, drives the ball against Los Angeles Clippers' Shai Gilgeous-Alexander during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers could be in line for one of the best offseasons in franchise history, but they face competition for most of the players they are interested in. 

Kawhi Leonard is the franchise's top target, but the Clippers are involved in a battle with the Toronto Raptors to sign the most coveted name on the free-agent market. 

But Leonard is far from the only high-profile player the Clippers could be after in the coming weeks. 

Klay Thompson and Al Horford have emerged as potential targets as well, and in the best-case scenario, the Clippers would put together a roster that rivals some of the title contenders in the Western Conference. 


Latest Clippers Buzz

Klay Thompson

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Thompson could be open to sitting down with the Clippers if Golden State fails to offer him a max deal (h/t RealGM). 

"The one team that I think, that my information is, that he would be very open to going down to sit down with are the Clippers," Wojnarowski said. 

Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

Pulling Thompson away from the Warriors would be viewed as one of the power moves of the summer, but previous comments from the player's father suggest he will remain with the Warriors. 

Mychal Thompson told Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle that there is "no question" Klay would re-sign with the Warriors back on June 14. 

No information has been released to suggest the Warriors will not offer Thompson a max deal, even though he will miss the 2019-20 season with a torn ACL. 

But if that situation arises, the Clippers should be on alert because they are looking to gain any type of ground in the crowded Western Conference.

Although they would have to wait a year to benefit from Thompson's skill set, the Clippers would pull away one of their rival's top players.

But again all of this is dependent on Golden State refusing to sign Thompson to a max deal, which appears to be unlikely given how much player has meant to that franchise. 


Kawhi Leonard

According to The Athletic's Frank Isola, the Clippers are set to meet with Leonard on July 2. 

If the date is correct, that would mean the Clippers and Raptors would have to wait past the start of free agency to figure out where the two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player will play his basketball next season. 

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 3:  Kwahi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors gets set to make a bounce pass against the Los Angeles Clippers in an NBA game at Scotiabank Arena on February 3, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Raptors defeated the Clippers 121-10
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Although the Clippers have the opportunity to sit down with Leonard, they are not the clear-cut favorite to land him.

When Yahoo's Chris Haynes reported that Leonard is opting out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent, he noted that Leonard is seriously considering re-signing with the Raptors. 

Toronto has much more pull than it did 12 months ago to entice Leonard to sign with it long term because of the championship it recently won. 

The Raptors winning the NBA Finals could end up being one of the worst things to happen to the Clippers, as their leverage to bring Leonard back to California might be washed away. 

But we will not know if that is the case until Leonard makes his final decision, and until that is reached, the Clippers still have a chance to sign a franchise-altering player.


Al Horford

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Clippers are one of two teams interested in signing Al Horford. 

If the Clippers and Mavericks are the two teams most interested in signing Horford, which Bulpett suggests, Los Angeles might be at an advantage. 

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Mavericks are not one of the teams prepared to offer four years and $112 million to the 33-year-old, who opted out of his deal in Boston to become a free agent. 

Even though his production has not dropped off in this 30s, Horford is not one of the select few players in the NBA that you can build your franchise around for the long-term future. 

Horford would be a quality secondary star for the Clippers if they sign Leonard, but it would not make a ton of sense if they threw over $100 million at Horford if they miss out on Leonard. 

In that situation, the Clippers could look at a few cheaper free-agent options that could improve the squad that qualified for the playoffs a year ago, instead of splurging on Horford without a high-profile superstar accompanying him.  


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