Klay Thompson out, Paul George in? Warriors reportedly open to trading for, re-signing PG13

It seems increasingly likely — bordering on certain — that Klay Thompson’s time with the Warriors is in the rearview mirror.

Could Paul George be his replacement? The Warriors are open to it, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on “Get Up” (hat tip RealGM).

“To this point, the Clippers have only been willing to offer Paul George about what they gave Kawhi Leonard. Three years at a little bit less than the max contract, and Paul George, frankly, wants four years. He wants a full out max and there are a number of teams out there, I am told, that are prepared to give it to him, who are prepared to trade for him. One of those teams, potentially, is up the coast in Golden State…

“I have been told that multiple teams out there are willing to trade for him and offer him the four-year max contract that he’s not currently being offered by the Clippers. That means he’s got a set of options. But the question is, are the Clippers going to play ball with such a deal, or are they going to risk losing him for nothing if he can walk to a team like Philadelphia or Orlando?

The impasse between George and the Clippers being years is not news, nor is the growing expectation around the league George will opt into his $48.8 million for next season to facilitate a trade out of town. The question has always been, is there a team willing to give him four years at the max?

Note that Windhorst says the Warriors are “potentially” interested. There are a lot of questions about this idea:

• Would Steve Ballmer approve trading a player he wants to a division rival?
• The Warriors front office is under a mandate to lower the payroll and get out of the second apron, are they really going to max out George for four years?
• The Clippers’ price will be high. In the case of the Warriors, it’s Andrew Wiggins (for salary balance, mostly), Jonathan Kuminga, Gary Payton II, and at least one unprotected first-round pick, maybe two. Are the Warriors willing to pay it?
• Is it worth it for the Warriors in this West? Dallas will bring everyone back from a Finals team, Denver and Nikola Jokic are not going anywhere, Oklahoma City and Minnesota will only get better (the Timberwolves ownership situation is a wild card there), Memphis will get everyone healthy and back from a 50+ win team that sees itself as a contender, Phoenix still has a powerful big three, and the list goes on and on through the Lakers, Kings, Pelicans and others. Can a Curry/Green/George Warriors come out of the West? Is it worth a shot?

There is a lot of interest in George, the only team apparently off the table is Philadelphia, with George reportedly not wanting to head to the East Coast. Would that preclude Orlando, too?

The Warriors would have that going for them, they are a West Coast team.

George has until Saturday to decide on his player option for next season, everything else follows from that.

First appeared on www.nbcsports.com

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