NBA Rumors: Klay Thompson To Lakers In 2019 Possible, Kawhi Leonard & Jimmy Butler Also On LA’s Radar

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to target Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler in 2018 NBA free agency.

Klay Thompson leaving Warriors in 2019
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to target Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler in 2018 NBA free agency.

Since the offseason, rumors and speculations continue to swirl around Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson. However, a day before the February 8 trade deadline, the Warriors showed no strong indication of breaking their core, believing their current roster is enough to win a back-to-back NBA championship title. Still, Golden State will need to make a tough decision regarding Thompson, especially when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

With four NBA All-Stars, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, there is no doubt that the Warriors are the best team in the league. Despite the emergence of numerous “Super Teams,” they are still the top favorite to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy this season. However, having a star-studded roster proved to be very expensive, and when the 2019 free agency hits, the Warriors will need to pay Thompson more than what he’s earning now.

If Thompson’s contract negotiation won’t go well, there are speculations that he could choose to leave Golden State to be the main guy on another team. According to SB Nation’s Golden State Of Mind, the 27-year-old shooting is interested in playing for his hometown team, Los Angeles Lakers, where his father, Mychal Thompson, stayed for four and a half seasons.

Klay Thompson to Los Angeles Lakers
  Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Since assuming front office role, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka already revealed their plan to pursue two superstars in 2018 free agency. However, according to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers are shifting their focus in the 2019 free-agency class that could feature Klay Thompson and other superstars.

“The Lakers aren’t abandoning a summer pursuit of stars, but rather they are recalibrating their focus on a 2019 class that could include San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler, league sources told ESPN.”

One of the factors that affect the Lakers’ decision is their inability to create enough salary cap space to sign two maximum-salaried players. Though they managed to unload Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets last summer, they are still unable to find takers for Luol Deng and his lucrative contract. Another thing that made the Lakers change their mind is their 2018 free-agency targets.

DeMarcus Cousins recently suffered a torn Achilles tendon while Paul George is now looking forward to re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder. LeBron James, who most people believe is L.A. bound, is unlikely to join the Lakers without an established superstar joining him.

In 2019, the Lakers could not only target Klay Thompson, but they could also pair him with other superstars like Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. However, the possible acquisition of Thompson will depend on his contract negotiation with the Warriors. As his father told SiriusXM NBA Radio, Thompson isn’t looking to leave Golden State and plans to retire as a Warrior.