Paul George, Klay Thompson officially free agents, Nuggets interested in both

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

On the eve of NBA free agency, breaking news came out regarding multiple star players and future Hall of Famers, shedding light on their futures. Two central figures at the forefront of this offseason transaction cycle are Paul George and Klay Thompson.

George hasn’t gotten the offer he wants from the Clippers and opted out of his contract on Saturday, making him an unrestricted free agent. Thompson has seen his relationship with the Warriors sour, and now it seems he’s almost certain to leave the only franchise he’s ever played for.

Thompson and George have both been rumored targets for the Nuggets

Shockingly, both players have been connected to the Nuggets in rumors, which is so surprising because Denver doesn’t have cap space. Apparently, the team had an opportunity to trade for George but didn’t want to add the necessary draft picks with Michael Porter Jr. and Zeke Nnaji to make a deal work. Now that George isn’t under contract, the only way it could work is a sign and trade, which is off the table for the Nuggets. The George dream is dead - if it was ever alive.

There’s a bit more wiggle room with Klay, as he’s likely not seeking a max contract like George. But still, the Nuggets couldn’t offer him more than the $5.2 million taxpayer midlevel exception, which would be a massive pay cut for Thompson.

Reports are that the Warriors are willing to work with Thompson on a sign and trade, but that would likely be limited to teams with cap space or that are at least under the tax line. Any way you slice it, despite the Nuggets’ interest, the team ending up with either of these marquee free agents looks like an extreme longshot at best.

Where will Paul George and Klay Thompson end up?

As for their next destinations, George is set to meet with the 76ers and Magic, along with the Clippers. Thompson’s visits haven’t been set but the Magic and Sixers are known to have interest and it sounds like the Mavericks and Clippers are serious threats to acquire Klay via sign and trade.

There has also been a report that LeBron James would be willing to sign for less money with the Lakers to open up the full midlevel exception, which could be an avenue to signing Thompson. We know he wants to stay on the west coast, so maybe that’s a real possibility. 

Once the dominos start to fall it will likely happen quickly. And whichever team(s) strike out on the top targets will quickly pivot to guys like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. It’s all going to come to light sooner than later and we should be in for a long and tumultuous couple of days.