NBA free agency 2024 live updates: Klay Thompson intends to sign with Mavericks, Celtics sale, latest news and rumors

For most of the past decade, the Dallas Mavericks were known as the team that chased star-free agents and then failed to get them, retreating to backup plans and promising future pursuits behind false bravado that couldn’t quite hide the embarrassment.

That was another front office pitching an entirely different team. Now, it’s Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving helming the team. Now, it’s Nico Harrison leading the front office. And now the Mavericks have agreed to acquire a free agent who might be the biggest star name acquisition in franchise history: Klay Thompson.

The 34-year-old Thompson is no longer the four-time champion who helped transform the sport‘s understanding of space, who turned quarters into shooting exhibitions. He has declined as a defender, which poses major questions to a team built around two superstar guards who don’t dazzle on that end. But Thompson remains a star both by name and production: 20 points and 40 percent shooting behind the arc across his past two seasons. Dallas traded skill and shooting for physicality and defense during last season’s run to the Finals. Now, they’re trying to strike the balance between those two.

It’s also true that Thompson’s decision to leave Golden State, the only home he’s had for his 13 years within the league, seemed to be influenced by his desire not to be compared to the player he once was. Dallas offers him the opportunity to win and be himself without the blacklight being shined upon him after every poor performance. Just look at how Irving has reshaped his public image.

There remains aspects of the deal to be worked out, which currently involve Josh Green being moved to the Charlotte Hornets. The negotiations involved with the Golden State Warriors, however, are ongoing. Dallas must find common ground to reach a sign-and-trade that would bring Thompson here.

This is a riskier win-now move than others Dallas could have made. The front office could have simply doubled down on what brought this squad to the Finals last season. But in convincing someone like Thompson to choose them, it did send one clear signal: This franchise no longer resembles that old one you knew.

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