Mavericks face tough challenge from Klay Thompson in NBA free agency – NBC Sports Bay Area and California

Before NBA free agency officially opens, the pursuit for Klay Thompson has heated up, with three teams vying to pry him away from the Warriors.

Both Los Angeles teams, the Clippers and Lakers, are exploring avenues for Thompson, who will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent on Sunday at 3 p.m. PT. Both teams are in favor of Klay's lifelong attachment to the West Coast.

However, a third team is trying to lure Thompson to new territory: Dallas.

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

When asked via text message if the Mavs are pursuing Klay as hard as the competition, a source with deep knowledge of the Western Conference responded with a one-word message: “Work hard.”

Dallas can’t make the Pacific Coast a recruiting base, but it can put together a sign-and-trade package that offers more money than the Lakers or Clippers — who are limited to the mid-level exception of $12.9 million.
The Mavericks, who have only Doncic and Irving on contracts worth more than $15 million, would not back down from a sign-and-trade deal that would see Thompson receive a three-year contract worth more than $50 million.

Would a three-year deal with extra cash be more appealing to Clay than joining the Lakers? It's the team he grew up supporting as a teenager and the franchise his father, Michael, won two NBA championships with and serves as a color analyst on radio broadcasts.

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

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

That's where the Warriors come in. While Thompson is assured of getting a big payday in a sign-and-trade scenario, he must decide if any of Dallas' available players are attractive. Maxi Kleber ($11 million)? Probably not. Another potential path for Golden State would be to involve at least one other team.

There is no doubt that in this situation, the Warriors would love to see Thompson with the Mavericks, as they would not be left empty-handed.

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