DALLAS (AP) — Klay Thompson remembers telling Luka Doncic he thought the Dallas superstar was on a path to greatness after Golden State beat the Mavericks in the Western Conference finals two years ago.

Now that Thompson has left the only NBA team he has known in 13 years to join Doncic and Kyrie Irving in Texas, he’s ready to celebrate with, rather than console, the 25-year-old sensation.

“He was real gracious in defeat,” Thompson said of Doncic on Tuesday during his introductory news conference with the Mavs. “I just appreciate someone who is not afraid of the moment and competes till the end. Luka fits that bill. I think we’ll be able to bring the best out of each other.”

The Warriors went on to win the last of their four championships with Thompson and Stephen Curry in 2022.

Two years later, an admittedly difficult season for Thompson ended with his scoreless, 0-for-10 showing in a loss to Sacramento in the play-in tournament.

He suspected that might be the end of his time with the team that drafted him 11th overall in 2011. And Thompson disappointed his dad, Los Angeles Lakers player-turned-broadcaster Mychal Thompson, by picking Doncic and Irving over LeBron James and Anthony Davis in free agency.

Watching the Mavs lose to Boston in five games in the NBA Finals had plenty to do with the decision.

“I was watching just as a basketball fan, and I did see, like, ‘Man, I could really help this team. They’re right there,’” Thompson said. “Not big adjustments, but just very little adjustments from getting over the top. We’re knocking on the door, and that’s what really got me excited to be here.”

Thompson joined the Mavericks in a sign-and-trade deal involving six teams and a $50 million, three-year contract for the 34-year-old, a five-time All-Star.

Dallas also added free agent forward Naji Marshall on a $27 million, three-year deal and acquired Quentin Grimes from Detroit in a trade that sent Tim Hardaway Jr. and three second-round picks to the Pistons.

Marshall and Grimes were already on board when they got news of the Thompson deal.

“I told everybody, ‘I’m about to get a ring,’” said Grimes, who was born and raised in the Houston area. “One of the best shooters of all time, for me as a shooter coming in, I’m going to learn from him every day. We’ve got a good group of guys, and when we got Klay, I’m like, ‘The sky’s the limit.’”

Thompson has had two full seasons since knee and Achilles heel injuries that sidelined him for 2 1/2 seasons. He is coming off his lowest scoring average in 11 years (17.9 points per game), and Thompson basically matched his career worst by shooting 38.7% from 3-point range.

Although Thompson came off the bench just 14 times in 77 games last season, he hadn’t done that since his rookie year. This helps explain why Curry, among several fond farewells for his longtime “Splash Brother,” said he hoped more than anything that Thompson could find joy in the game again.

“There was times last year it was tough, where it wasn’t as joyful as it had it been in the past,” Thompson said. “It’s nice to kind of shed that and have a whole new fresh start, whole new group of guys to get to know. A whole new city. It’s really cool. And I’m going to embrace the heck out of this opportunity.”

Thompson said one of the first players to reach out was Irving, whose career has been rejuvenated in Dallas. They entered the league together in 2011 — Irving was the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland — and faced each other three consecutive years in the NBA Finals.

While the friendship with Irving helps, two trips at least to the West finals in three years is a big part of the reason Dallas landed a big name in free agency after years of disappointment.

“Everyone wants to be a part of a winner,” said assistant general manager Michael Finley, a former Mavs star who has been in the front office for a decade. “In the past, Dallas has had some winning teams, but we just couldn’t get over the hump of being a consistent winner. Winning is very easy to sell to athletes nowadays.”

Thompson knows winning, and believes he has plenty left to take Doncic where retired Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki finally went in the 13th of his 21 Dallas seasons, an NBA record for a career spent entirely in one city. That would be the top of the NBA mountain.

“At this point in my career, still can’t leave me open. I can guard, and I’m just excited,” said Thompson, a 41.3% 3-point shooter who is sixth all-time in made 3s. “I know I can help this team, whether it’s the knowledge I’ve gained, or big, big scoring nights. I just still know I can be a very, very good player in this league.”

Now, Thompson is paired with one of the NBA’s best young players.


Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard said “it’s no surprise” that former teammate Paul George left to join the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

“We knew what it was before the season,” Leonard said after Team USA’s practice Tuesday. “We knew what it was going to come down to. So, we talked the whole way through.”

While the Clippers extended Leonard on a three-year deal in the middle of last season, George’s extension talks faded, and the 34-year-old hit unrestricted free agency.

George signed a four-year, $212-million contract with Philadelphia hours after the Clippers announced they wouldn’t offer a fourth season in a deal.

The Clippers dealt Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and five first-round picks to receive George on the same day they signed Leonard away from the Toronto Raptors in 2019.

George and Leonard made the playoffs in all four seasons they played together with the Clippers (Leonard missed the 2021-22 campaign with a torn ACL). However, they only won three total series in the postseason and never made the NBA Finals. They made six combined All-Star games.


SAN ANTONIO — In the twilight of his career, Chris Paul could have opted to chase an elusive NBA championship. Instead, he chose to go to a team that went just 22-60 a season ago.

Why? He still wants to compete.

“I love nothing more than the opportunity to play and contribute and hoop,” Paul said at his introductory news conference Tuesday.

Paul agreed to a one-year contract with the Spurs. He could have played closer to his home in the Los Angeles area but instead, he’ll leave his family and play for San Antonio.

“My family is everything. My wife is here, my kids are back in L.A., and that’s where they will be during the season,” Paul said. “And I love basketball so much that I could be close to home, but if I’m not playing, I’m not happy.

“And I love my family to death. So when we saw this opportunity, even though it’ll put me away from my family, my family knows me better than anybody and they know that I just want to play. I want to play more than anything. And that’s why I’m grateful for them and more so grateful to be here.”

Paul also gets to join forces with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for the first time in his career. He said it was “an honor and a privilege” to be able to play for Popovich at this stage of his career.

“Obviously, I’ve admired Pop from afar for years, and when you’re in this for a while, as he’s done for a long time, there’s so much respect there,” Paul said. “Not only for his basketball IQ, but just for who he is as a person, as a competitor and all of that.”

While discussing his illustrious 19-year career, all of which has happened in the Western Conference, Paul said he doesn’t think there’s a team he has played more than the Spurs — and he’s correct. He has 81 combined playoff and regular-season games played against the Spurs, the most he has against any team in the NBA.

Paul said the meeting he had with Popovich before agreeing to a contract with the Spurs was more a conversation rather than Popovich giving him a sales pitch.

Now, at age 39, Paul joins a team that was the league’s youngest last season and also features one of the game’s most exciting young players in reigning Rookie of the Year  Victor Wembanyama.

Paul said he and Harrison Barnes, who was acquired in a three-way trade from Sacramento, were talking on their flight into San Antonio on Monday about how they can’t wait to watch Wembanyama grow on a day-to-day basis.

“I played against [Wembanyama] this season, and I tell you there’s probably no player in the league that everybody in the league talks about after the game like him,” Paul said. “Everybody has to adjust to stuff.”

Barnes signed a three-year, $54 million extension last summer with the Sacramento Kings, but with two years left on his deal, he was expendable as the team looked to acquire DeMar DeRozan.

As a part of his contract, Barnes had a 10% trade bonus that he waived in order to help facilitate the deal involving the Kings, Spurs and Chicago Bulls. On Tuesday, he explained why he turned down the extra cash, calling it “a pretty easy decision.”

“It’s funny, with the new CBA, the trade kicker became more of a play than I was expecting, but I think the opportunity just to come here and to be able play for Pop and play with this group I think is exciting,” Barnes said.

Barnes reunites with Popovich, who coached him in the 2019 FIBA World Cup with Team USA. Barnes says he remembered great team dinners under Popovich but also his ability to relate with everyone on the roster.

“He talks to every single player differently, and he knows how to connect with him,” Barnes said. “So I think that’s why me and him kind of hit it off. He’s a straight shooter. I like that.”

Both Barnes and Paul recognize the role they will have as the elder statesmen of the Spurs. Devonte Graham, who turned 29 in February, ended the season as the team’s oldest player a season ago.

Paul and Barnes, 32, now take that title and will try to lead the young team moving forward. But Paul is also excited for what he can learn as well.

“That’s probably been the coolest thing about my career is that, yeah, I’ve went to some teams that are younger or whatnot, but I’m constantly learning from these guys,” Paul said.

“I got a chance to play with [ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander] in his second year in the league and I got a chance to learn from him. I got a chance to learn from [ Devin Booker], Mikal Bridges and all those guys. So I’m excited to share with these guys what I know and whatever they want to know, but I’m also excited to see what I can learn from them.”


CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Caleb Martin spurned a lot of money in Miami. Like, a lot, a lot — millions of dollars left on the table when he rejected the Heat’s new contract offer.

So he took a different deal with the Philadelphia 76ers for a chance with a fresh start to chase a championship with Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and Paul George.

Oh, and he signed his contract with no regrets.

So he says.

Martin turned down a deal that would have paid him about $65 million over the next five seasons to stay in Miami and instead signed a four-year deal guaranteed for more than $32 million with the 76ers.

“Just certain things didn’t work,” Martin said Tuesday at the Sixers’ New Jersey complex. “There was a lot of things behind the scenes that went on. Ultimately, there was a lot in making that decision. There’s a lot that contributed to how everything went. But past is past, can’t do nothing about that. I’m looking forward to being here and being a part of Philly and trying to bring everything I can in order to try and win a championship. That’s my main focus now.”

The 28-year-old Martin averaged 8.5 points over five seasons, including the last three with the Heat. It was in Miami where Martin developed a reputation of raising his game in the playoffs.

He’ll likely fill a starting spot left open in Philly, where the 76ers have revamped their roster after another early postseason exit. They spent more than $400 million to sign George away from the Clippers and keep Maxey, their homegrown All-Star guard, in the fold for five more years. Team president Daryl Morey also signed free agents Andre Drummond and Eric Gordon and re-signed Kelly Oubre Jr. The win-now moves for a franchise that hasn’t advanced out of the second round since 2001 are designed to put them in the hunt with NBA champion Boston and put pressure on New York, Indiana and even Milwaukee to at least remain a threat in the East.

George and the Sixers agreed to a $212 million, four-year free agent contract and Maxey agreed in principle to a $204 million, five-year extension with the team.

Martin was undrafted coming out of college after stints at North Carolina State and Nevada. He entered the NBA with almost no guarantees. He had to play in the G League. Charlotte let him go after two seasons.

Martin then became a breakout star of the 2023 playoffs when he pushed the Heat to the NBA Finals.

He could enter 2024 as the starting power forward for a franchise that hasn’t won an NBA title since 1983.

Martin averaged 19.3 points on 60% shooting and scored a playoff-career-high 26 points on Boston’s home floor in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2023. He was solid in the first two rounds that season against No. 1 Milwaukee and No. 5 New York, averaging 10.8 points on nearly 53% shooting.

It’s one reason the 76ers and Heat both wanted him on their rosters, even if the final call to come to Philly came at a steep price for Martin — and a nice discount for the Sixers.

“I mean, you’re always going to wish you can make as much money as you can,” Martin said. “It’s part of the game, it’s part of life. You live and learn. You take risks. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”


DETROIT (AP) — Cade Cunningham and the Detroit Pistons have agreed on a five-year contract extension worth at least $224 million, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The deal could reach nearly $270 million if Cunningham becomes eligible for a supermax extension, according to the two people who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had yet to announce the agreement.

ESPN was first to report the agreement, which starts with the 2025-26 season.

Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall in 2021, and the former Oklahoma State star has had individual success amid hard times for a three-time NBA-championship winning franchise.

The 6-foot-6 point guard has averaged 20 points, 6.5 assists and five rebounds in his career, which included an injury-shortened second season.

The Pistons clearly are including Cunningham in their next attempt at rebuilding, an effort led by new president of basketball operations Trajan Langdon and coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

After finishing with the league’s worst record for the second straight year, Detroit fired general manager Troy Weaver following a four-year run of futility and coach Monty Williams after only one season.

Langdon has been busy, aiming to surround Cunningham with outside shooters as part of a desperately needed influx of talent.

He signed former Pistons forward Tobias Harris to a two-year, $52 million deal, acquired Tim Hardaway Jr. from Dallas in a trade, extended a qualifying offer to Simone Fontecchio and drafted Ron Holland of the G League Ignite with the fifth pick overall.

The Pistons haven’t won a playoff game since 2008, when they appeared in the Eastern Conference finals for the sixth straight year, and have been the last-place team in the Central Division the past four seasons.

Cunningham, who is from Arlington, Texas, has done his part by producing in two of his three years.

In his second season, he was limited to 12 games because of a stress fracture in his left leg. He bounced back from the injury well enough to average 22.7 points and 7.5 rebounds last season while grabbing 4.3 rebounds per game.

Cunningham was unanimously voted to the 2022 NBA All-Rookie first team after averaging 17.4 points, 5.6 assists and 5.5 rebounds.


The Brooklyn Nets re-signed guard/forward Trendon Watford for the 2024-25 season on Tuesday.

Terms were not disclosed, but ESPN reported that Watford agreed to the Nets’ $2.7 million qualifying offer.

Watford, 23, averaged 6.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 13.6 minutes in 63 games (two starts) in his first season with Brooklyn in 2023-24.

He owns career averages of 7.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 173 games (24 starts) with the Portland Trail Blazers (2021-23) and Nets.


The Detroit Pistons claimed center/forward Paul Reed off waivers on Tuesday, three days after the Philadelphia 76ers had released him.

Reed, 25, averaged 7.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 blocks and 19.4 minutes in 82 games (24 starts) last season for Philadelphia.

The 76ers selected him in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft out of DePaul. He has averaged 5.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.8 blocks and 13.1 minutes in 215 games (28 starts).

Reed is entering the second year of a three-year, $23 million contract, with $15.7 million remaining for two non-guaranteed seasons. Reed had signed an offer sheet with the Utah Jazz as a restricted free agent last summer, and Philadelphia matched the offer.

He joins a Pistons roster that has added guard Tim Hardaway Jr., forward Tobias Harris and, reportedly, guards Malik Beasley and Wendell Moore Jr. in the offseason.


Wyc Grousbeck announced that he will put the Boston Celtics up for sale shortly after the team won its record 18th NBA title. Now, there’s another record the Celtics could set.

Grousbeck said in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday that he wants to sell the Celtics for a record price.

The most lucrative sale of an NBA team came when Mat Ishbia bought the Phoenix Suns for $4 billion. But if Grousbeck wants to aim even higher, the record for all North American sports teams is $6.05 billion, which is what Josh Harris and his group of investors paid to purchase the Washington Commanders last year.

“I haven’t thought much about (it) going forward, but I am a competitive guy — why not?” Grousbeck said of shooting for a record. “I mean, if you’re going to keep score, keep score on everything.”

Forbes’ most recent list of NBA teams’ valuations pegged the Celtics as the fourth-most valuable franchise in the league at $4.7 billion, behind only the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.

Grousbeck confirmed he plans to sell the team in two stages, first by offloading the 51 percent majority share controlled by his family. The second stage would feature the sale of the other 49 percent held by minority partners, though one minority owner, Steve Pagliuca, has announced that he is interested in bidding for a majority stake.

Grousbeck, a 63-year-old Massachusetts native, plans to serve as the Celtics’ governor until 2028.