As if Monday wasn’t packed enough with NBA rumors and speculation, more bombshells about the options the Los Angeles Lakers might have moving forward just won’t stop. Now, a name that was was previously seen as off limits for most teams might actually be become available: Klay Thompson.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN while speaking on Sportscenter, Thompson might find himself on the outside looking in on Golden State’s cap plans, and could really consider joining the team his dad played for if the Warriors get cute and don’t offer him the full max right away:
“The best-case scenario for the Lakers is that they add Anthony Davis and then Golden State doesn’t offer Klay Thompson a max contract. They try to get Klay to take a little bit less than the max. And if that happens, I’m told Klay’s attention will be on the Lakers if they have Anthony Davis.”
Woj was clear that Golden State wants to retain Thompson, but do have a few mouths to feed between him, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant’s impending free agency. Of all the Warriors, Thompson has always seemed like the most comfortable in his role, but these things change, as evidenced by Woj’s report.
Before you run with images of Thompson, Davis and LeBron James (all of whom fit together absolutely perfectly in a basketball sense, by the way), there is obviously a ton of work to do here. First and foremost, trading for Davis probably won’t happen until after this season, as the New Orleans Pelicans said in their
incessant whining public statement on Davis’ trade demands.
It should also be pointed out that, depending on the players the Lakers send out for Davis and whoever accompanies him on the flight to Los Angeles, the Lakers’ plans for this summer might take some tinkering. They’ll likely have some work to do on their books to offer Thompson a full max of their own, a max that would still be less than the max the Warriors could offer him — $139 million over four years vs. five years, $188 million.
Thompson could make some of that up on the front-end of his next contract — he’s only 28 years old — but he’d have to take a slight risk by leaving that type of cash on the table.
But while such scenarios are a long way off, it’s better to be tied to these types of names than the alternative. This report also provides some clarity on options the Lakers have if they deplete their cupboard of assets in their pursuit of Davis. It also shows how teams’ outlooks change after they acquire legitimate star-power.
If the Lakers are able to pair James and Davis, players around the league will take notice, as evidenced by this tidbit on Thompson. There has been a lot of consternation about the Lakers’ depleting their depth in the wake of Davis’ demand, but getting third star like Thompson would do a lot to quell that concern. It’s altogether likely other stars will be interested, too, as well as role players chasing titles.
This story is obviously in its extreme infancy and we’ll provide updates as they come.