Warriors prepare 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 parting of ways between a storied dynasty and one of its legacy players, sources told the league The Athletics.

Thompson and the Warriors have had virtually no communication since the negotiating period for incumbent free agents began nearly two weeks ago and no offer has been made, team and league sources say. The Warriors, after other matters, wanted to go back and negotiate with Thompson. But he is not expected to wait there as a willing secondary priority in their summer plan as his side feel the Warriors’ interest in a reunion has been unfair. 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 partnership is over, league sources said.

The Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are expected to be among the strong suitors for Thompson, according to league sources. Several teams with salary cap space are also expected to show interest in Thompson. Tim Hardaway Jr.’s salary dump the Mavericks have already created enough space to offer the full expected mid-level of $12.9 million to the market. The Lakers have the ability to generate the same, depending on where LeBron James’ next deal ends up and other things.

Golden State is operating in the market as a full-time, mid-level, taxpayer-free exception team for the first time in about a decade due to Thompson’s expected departure and the potential departure of Chris Paul’s non-guaranteed $30 million deal, league sources said, losing $73.2 million from its books.

The Warriors are open to engaging in a sign-and-trade with Thompson to increase his earning potential, the sources said.

The split is a major surprise league-wide given the deep history between the Warriors and Thompson, but the trend has been this way for several seasons, as Thompson’s extension talks stalled, his role shifted, the team failed to make the playoffs, the Warriors drafted potential replacements under him (Moses Moody, Brandin Podziemski) and extended him (Jordan Poole) and he never felt reciprocated love from management over his permanent place in the franchise’s plans, league sources said.

That continued this summer. The Warriors have expressed an open desire to keep Thompson as part of the core, but they have made it clear that it would have to be at the right price, in the right role, and that he would have to wait for the right time.

In a desperate bid to improve the talent of an underperforming supporting cast surrounding Stephen Curry, they had actively explored the trade market in recent weeks, including an improbable run for future free-agent Paul George, a pursuit the team knows is now dead.

Thompson feels the cold wind blowing from the only franchise he has ever known that is being returned in kind, limiting communication and planning for an NBA future outside the Bay Area. Both parties are currently operating as if their 13-year partnership is over.

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(Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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