Warriors preparing to lose Klay Thompson in free agency: sources

The Golden State Warriors are preparing to lose four-time NBA champion Klay Thompson in free agency, an expected separation between a veteran dynasty and one of its legacy players, league sources said. Athletic.

There has been no communication between Thompson and the Warriors since the negotiating period for current free agents opened nearly two weeks ago and no offer has been made, team and league sources said. The Warriors, after other business, want to negotiate with Thompson. But he is not expected to wait as a willing secondary priority in their summer plans, as his side feels the Warriors' interest in a reunion has been disingenuous. The five-time All-Star guard is determined to find a new home elsewhere for his 14th NBA season and beyond, with both sides believing their 13-year association is over, league sources said.

The Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are among the strong contenders for Thompson, according to league sources. Several teams with salary cap space are expected to show interest in Thompson as well. Through Tim Hardaway Jr.'s salary dump, the Mavericks have already created enough room on the market to make the full estimated $12.9 million midlevel offer. The Lakers also have the ability to create a similar amount of room, depending on where LeBron James' next deal goes and what other business happens.

Golden State, which is operating as a full non-taxpayer mid-level exception team in the market for the first time in nearly a decade, will see $73.2 million lost from its books because of Thompson's anticipated departure and the potential departure of Chris Paul's $30 million non-guaranteed deal, league sources said.

The Warriors are willing to participate in a sign-and-trade with Thompson to help his earning potential, sources said.

The split is a major shocker across the league given the deep history between the Warriors and Thompson, but it’s been trending in this direction for the past few seasons, as Thompson’s extension talks stalled, his role changed, the team failed to make the playoffs, the Warriors drafted potential replacements under him (Moses Moody, Brandin Podziemski) and extended one (Jordan Poole) and he never felt reciprocated love from management about his firm place in the franchise’s plans, league sources said.

That trend continued this summer. The Warriors maintain an outward desire to keep Thompson a part of the core, but they have made it clear it has to come at the right price, in the right role, and they have to wait for the right time.

In a desperate search to add talent to the underperforming supporting cast around Stephen Curry, they spent the last few weeks actively exploring the trade market, including the improbable pursuit of soon-to-be free-agent Paul George, a pursuit the team knows is now over.

Thompson felt a blow of cold air from the only franchise he had known, so he acted the same, and limited communication and planning for the NBA’s future outside of the Bay Area.

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(Photo: Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

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