This is the worst possible way to start something where the goal is to get you to read it, but in the name of honesty and integrity I am doing it anyway:
This whole story is moot. It will not matter.
Adrian Wojnarowski — the NBA’s preeminent scoop master — was on ESPN’s Get Up this morning and talked about the “seismic change” expected to come to the Warriors this summer when Kevin Durant leaves (likely for the Knicks, according to basically everyone around the league).
Then he threw in this tidbit about Klay Thompson, also a Warriors’ free agent this summer:
“If they come with a five-year, $190 million max deal for Klay Thompson, that’s done on July 1 — he’s going into the new building with Stephen Curry. If they try to do anything less than that, you can expect Klay Thompson to be out in free agency. Watch not for the Lakers, then, but the Clippers.”
I do not doubt Wojnarowski’s sources, but the first sentence from Woj is the key — the Warriors are going to put that max offer on the table, league sources have told NBC Sports. That is no secret around the NBA. Notice teams are not gearing up to make a run at him in the same way they are with Durant, Kawhi Leonard or Kyrie Irving. There’s a reason for that, teams know what is coming.
That Thompson has no plans to take a discount is nothing new, that’s been the clear message out of his camp for a while, and the Warriors know it. Thompson also has been clear he wants to stay in Golden State. Both teams in Los Angeles can place calls and send gift baskets, but not long into July 1 this should all be taken care of and Thompson will stay put. (What the Warriors want to do with Draymond Green going forward, especially if Durant changes his mind and stays, is a far more interesting discussion.)
However, that word is out that Thompson might lean Clippers over the Lakers speaks to a couple of things. One, not everyone wants to play with LeBron James. Maybe Thompson does or does not, but it’s not likely playing with other superstars and not every player thrives next to James.
Second, around the league the Clippers are seen as the smarter, better run organization right now. Which if you said it a decade ago would have led to hysterical laughter, but is now the truth. It’s not an accident the Clippers are in the running for a lot of elite free agents, it’s more than just cap room.