By not making any moves at the trade deadline, the Lakers placed an immense amount of focus and pressure on the buyout market. The team has been active in recent years in signing buyouts, ranging from Markieff Morris to Andre Drummon and Ben McLemore.
But none of those teams were as deeply flawed as this Lakers’ team is and none of those teams needed as much help as this team does. Perhaps the biggest hole on the roster is at the center position where the team only has one player that can play the position in Anthony Davis.
While LeBron James has had success at times at the position, the Lakers are desperately in need of at least one traditional center. With Drummond unavailable to promise a starting spot to (for now), a different type of familiar name could be available.
On Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic appeared on Bally Sports’ “The Rally” and revealed that, on top of Goran Dragic, the Lakers are expected to be in on Tristan Thompson as well.
"They will be active in the Goran Dragić and Tristan Thompson's of the world."— The Rally (@TheRally) February 15, 2022
Stadium #NBA Insider @ShamsCharania on what the Lakers could do in the buyout market. #TheRally pic.twitter.com/Ecst6hfMrh
Thompson was a part of the deal that sent Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield to the Pacers for Domantas Sabonis. As is, the Pacers have four centers on the roster in Thompson, Myles Turner, Goga Bitadze and Isaiah Jackson. With Thompson being the oldest of the four, he makes sense on paper as a buyout candidate.
The only report about Thompson’s future, though, came from James Boyd of Indy Star who said the team was mulling on the idea of potentially buying him out. With the Pacers way, way out of contention and Thompson capable of contributing, all signs would point to him being bought out.
This season, the 30-year-old Thompson has averaged 5.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in just 15.2 minutes per game across 32 games in Sacramento and Indiana. While he has his limitations, Thompson still has value and certainly way more value than a player like DeAndre Jordan.
There’s also the connection with Thompson being a Klutch client and friends with James, which would conceivably give them an upper hand if he hits the market. Earlier this season in a game against the Kings, James was sure to throw some trash talk in Thompson’s direction much of the night, including after a clutch basket late.
Go ahead and save this for future use pic.twitter.com/Z0jRXWQ4nh— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) January 5, 2022
Thompson has his limitations, as any buyout player would, but he also has value as a rebounder and would be an improvement on the Lakers current roster. And considering how little the Lakers are getting out of multiple players on the current roster, it’s a move that makes plenty of sense, if it goes down.