Star's contract decision puts Warriors in limbo with potential for huge disaster

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors chances of landing 9x All-Star Paul George have been dealt a fatal blow after the the LA Clippers forward opted out of his $48.8 million player option for next season to become an unrestricted free agent.

Without the necessary cap space, the Warriors had been reliant on George to opt in to the final year of his deal and force a trade. According to The Athletic's Anthony Slater, Golden State "have been under the impression today that they are out on Paul George. The reported opt-out seals it."

The Golden State Warriors are now in limbo but must pivot quickly to avoid a potentially disastrous free agency ahead

NBA Insider Marc Stein reported on Friday that the Warriors had prioritized a trade for George over all other business, including re-signing franchise legend Klay Thompson in a relationship that's deemed as "irretrievable" according to Stein.

Golden State are now in a very delicate and potentially disastrous situation -- where do they turn now with the George aspect seemingly off the table? Running it back with a similar team is hardly the desired outcome, yet mending things with Thompson and bringing him back is better than letting him walk, particularly if it's to a Western Conference contender like the Dallas Mavericks or Denver Nuggets as has been reported.

The Warriors also have 24 hours to decide on what they'll do with Chris Paul's non-guaranteed $30 million contract. If there's no trade partner out there, the franchise may simply have to waive the 39-year-old and allow him to enter unrestricted free agency where he'd likely head to one of the two teams in Los Angeles.

If Golden State end up waiving Paul and watch Thompson walk out the door in free agency, it would be nothing short of an unmitigated disaster for the franchise unless they can orchestrate something spectacular -- and even then it will be difficult without Paul's contract for salary matching.

With George not available, who's the next best option to target? Is it Brandon Ingram? Should they go out and overpay for Lauri Markkanen who the Utah Jazz won't give up without a huge haul in return? The issue is the Warriors can't appear desperate in negotiations with rival teams...except they kind of are now given the dwindling time to Paul's guarantee date, along with the increasingly soured relationship with Thompson.