After reaching a buyout agreement with Luol Deng, the Los Angeles Lakers are currently in a strong position to acquire another superstar free agent in the summer of 2019. According to ESPN, four NBA superstars emerged as the Lakers’ top targets next offseason. These include Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors.
Talent-wise, Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant should be on the top of the Lakers’ list. Like LeBron James, both superstars have shown their capability to single-handedly lead a team. However, according to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, the Lakers should consider targeting a player who fits well with James. Smith believes Klay Thompson will be a “better fit” with LeBron than Leonard and Durant.
“I’d take Klay Thompson over Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard to be LeBron James’ teammate next season.”
Klay Thompson is only one of the few NBA superstars who finds consistency playing off the ball. Thompson spent the most of his NBA career playing under the shadow of Stephen Curry, and he still managed to establish an impressive performance almost every night despite the addition of Kevin Durant in the summer of 2016.
According to Jason Reed of L.A. Sports Hub, Thompson’s capability to efficiently play alongside other NBA superstars is enough reason for the Lakers to make him their No. 1 priority next summer.
“Thompson, on the other hand, is the perfect complementary star to put alongside LeBron James. He checks the two most important boxes, three-point shooting, and defense and can heat up at any time and provide much-needed scoring relief to LeBron. Plus, Thompson is very low maintenance, which is huge for a player that is playing alongside LeBron. We all saw what happened with Isaiah Thomas in their short partnership. Thompson has shown that he is okay the second star while playing alongside Stephen Curry and Durant.”
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) September 4, 2018
The potential acquisition of Klay Thompson will address two major issues on the Lakers’ roster — three-point shooting and defense. In 73 games he played last season, the 28-year-old shooting guard averaged 20.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on 48.8 percent shooting from the field and 44.0 percent from beyond the arc. Unlike Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, Thompson’s arrival in Los Angeles won’t have a negative effect on the development of Lakers’ young forwards like Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.
Thompson won’t have a hard time making himself fit in the Purple and Gold since the Lakers use a similar strategy with the Golden State Warriors. Thompson has a good relationship with Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton. The two were recently spotted hanging out in Qatar, creating the speculations that Walton is already recruiting Thompson to the Lakers.