Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson is under contract through the 2018-19 season and will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019.
Thompson will make $18.9 million this season and has consistently said he wants to retire with the Warriors. Golden State has won back-to-back championships and three of the last four Finals. Thompson, 28, has career averages of 19.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from three in 537 games.
The Los Angeles Lakers won this summer’s free agency period by signing the best player in the world, LeBron James. James signed a four-year deal with the Lakers and is looking to bring the franchise back to prominence. Los Angeles, however, wasn’t able to get a second star along with James. With Paul George re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kawhi Leonard being traded to the Toronto Raptors, the Lakers will have to wait until 2019 to target another star.
That’s where Thompson comes into play, as the Lakers are reportedly high on the sharpshooter.
Via ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:
“In terms of who they target next year, it’s whoever wants to come,” Shelburne said on ESPNLA. “My feeling about it, my sense from just talking to people in and around this one, it’s a little early, but I think they like Mychal‘s [Thompson] boy. I think that would be the guy, in terms of skill set and how that would fit. Obviously Kawhi, he’s a great player as well, but we’ll see if he stays in Toronto now. But I think they like Klay.”
Thompson is arguably one of the best shooters in NBA history, a trait players often need when playing next to James because he’s a great passer and collapses the paint on his drives to the basket. Thompson can also guard multiple positions effectively and doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be a threat. He does most of his damage on catch-and-shoot shots and is an excellent off-ball player.
That being said, Thompson is likely going to re-sign with the Warriors. Golden State general manager Bob Myers said in July that he’s confident the franchise will be able to afford a roster and luxury tax bill that hits $300 million in the 2019-20 season. The Warriors will open their new arena in San Francisco that season, which will surely bring in more revenue to the organization.
At the Thompson Family Foundation Golf Tournament in August, Thompson said he wants to be a Warrior for life.
“I’ve said it many times before: I would like to be a Warrior for life,” Thompson told the Bay Area News Group. “Contract negotiations are way down the line. But I think we all have the same interest. I would love to be here for the rest of my career.”
Of course, things can always change quickly in the NBA and the Lakers will have plenty of money to offer Thompson. But at this point, Laker fans shouldn’t be getting their hopes up about adding Thompson to the roster.