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Mavericks in heavy Klay Thompson pursuit in NBA free agency – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

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Mavericks in heavy Klay Thompson pursuit in NBA free agency – NBC Sports Bay Area & California


In the hours before NBA free agency officially opens, the pursuit of Klay Thompson is heating up, with three teams racing to lure him away from the Warriors.

Both Los Angeles teams, the Clippers and Lakers, are exploring paths to Thompson, who will go on the market as an unrestricted free agent at 3 p.m. PT Sunday. Both have in their favor Klay’s lifelong attachment to the West Coast.
A third team, however, is trying to pull Thompson to new territory: Dallas.

The Mavericks are making Thompson a priority, according to a league source. They visualize one of the league’s best 3-point shooters operating in space created by the gravity of ball-dominant playmakers Luka Doncić and Kyrie Irving.

Asked via text message if the Mavs are hunting Klay as hard as the competition, the source, with deep Western Conference knowledge, responded with a one-word message: “Harder.”

Dallas can’t cite the Pacific Ocean as a recruiting pitch, but it can create a sign-and-trade package that offers more money than either the Lakers or Clippers – limited to the mid-level exception of $12.9 million – can offer.
The Mavericks, with only Doncić and Irving, locked into contracts topping $15 million, won’t flinch at a sign-and-trade deal in which Thompson would get a three-year contract that exceeds $50 million.

Would a three-year deal with the additional cash be more appealing to Klay than joining the Lakers? This is the team he rooted for as a teenager and the franchise with which his father, Mychal, won two NBA championships and is employed as a color analyst on radio broadcasts.

Would a three-year deal with the Mavericks, a legitimate contender that reached the 2024 NBA Finals, be more important than staying on the West Coast?

The Lakers and Clippers conceivably could create a salary slot without making a trade.

This is where the Warriors come in. In the sign-and-trade scenario that assures Thompson a bigger payday, they must decide if any of Dallas’ available players is attractive. Maxi Kleber ($11 million)? Maybe not. A more likely avenue for Golden State would be getting at least one other team involved.

There is little doubt that in this instance, the Warriors would rather see Thompson with the Mavericks, if only because they would not be left empty handed.

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