Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

The Golden State Warriors reportedly offered the Los Angeles Clippers several variations of trades for Paul George before the All-Star decided to opt out of his contract and hit unrestricted free agency.

Tim Kawakami of The Athletic reported the offers included Chris Paul, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and a future first-round pick in some combination. The report indicates the Warriors would “definitely” not include all of the pieces, but the front office believed they “proposed several variations of a trade that the Clippers could and would accept.”

Golden State was also willing to give George a new max contract extension, but any trade required him to opt into the final year of his current contract.

George instead decided to opt out and will explore the free-agent market. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported George is set to meet with the Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic at the start of free agency. The Sixers and Magic both have the cap space to sign George outright.

The Clippers and George have been negotiating an extension for months to little avail. George has been adamant about wanting his four-year maximum, while the Clippers have offered him a deal similar to the three-year, $149.7 million extension signed by Kawhi Leonard in January. This has created a game of chicken in a sense, with the Clippers hours away from free agency seemingly on the verge of losing George for nothing if they refuse to pony up his full max.

Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank told reporters the team wants to retain George, but there are financial ramifications of the new collective bargaining agreement it has to consider.

“This is a business and the reality of the new CBA impacts teams like us,” Frank said. “When your better players are in their 30s and you’re trying to build a sustainable roster, it impacts it.

“Like if there was no CBA, with [team owner] Steve Ballmer, it would be carte blanche. With the new CBA, it’s not even about the money as it is how are you going to build a sustainable roster, maintain your tools to have transactional flexibility? And with that comes really, really hard decisions.”

As currently constituted, the Clippers are about $54.1 million under the first tax apron and $65 million under the second apron. Re-signing George would put them close to the first apron without even factoring in the potential of James Harden returning. Bringing back both Harden and George would require the Clippers to blow past the second apron, heavily restricting their roster flexibility moving forward.

The CBA has also forced the Warriors into their own cap crunch, as they’ll likely see Klay Thompson walk in free agency this summer in a largely financial decision. Golden State has regularly been the NBA’s most expensive team in recent years, but owner Joe Lacob has been open about wanting to duck the tax.

Losing out on George puts the Warriors at a crossroads. The team could easily duck below the tax by waiving Chris Paul’s $30 million contract, but that move would likely consign the Warriors to the lottery for the foreseeable future.

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#Warriors #Trade #Offers #Included #Chris #Paul #Wiggins #Opt

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