Grade the Trade: Warriors land 9x All-Star in blockbuster three-team proposed deal

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers
Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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With just over two days from the NBA Draft and a week from the start of free agency, the drums are beating for the Golden State Warriors.

Gary Payton II has already opted into his $9.1 million player option and Kevon Looney's $8 million contract is expected to be guaranteed, leaving veterans Chris Paul and Klay Thompson as the two key pieces whose futures are to be resolved.

Given the Warriors ambition to get under the second tax apron, Paul and Thompson will be inextricably linked over the days ahead. As the likelihood of Thompson leaving grows seemingly stronger, so too does the franchise's exploration of a trade involving Paul's contract. As The Athletic's Anthony Slater stated on Saturday, Golden State have "been actively searching for paths to larger-scale upgrades."

Could the Golden State Warriors pursuit of a huge upgrade lead them to a blockbuster trade for a nine-time All-Star?

Kevin Durant was the buzz name for the Warriors as soon as the Phoenix Suns season ended. Then it was Jimmy Butler after reporting of tension between he and the Miami Heat. The latest star to draw a myriad of speculation on social media -- Paul George.

The 34-year-old has a $48.8 million player option for next season, leaving him the opportunity to opt out and become an unrestricted free agent where the Philadelphia 76ers were long touted as the strongest suitor.

Yet after The Athletic's Shams Charania reported last week that the 76ers' interest had "significantly waned", ESPN's Brian Windhorst stated on Get Up that "if Paul George changes teams, it’s very likely going to be a situation where he opts into his contract and requests a trade."

This is where a team without cap space could come into the George stakes. Could the Warriors jump through the financial hoops to make it happen? Let's have a look at how it can happen in a blockbuster three-team trade proposal: