NBA Rumors: Lakers Have Klay Thompson As Their Primary Free Agent Target For 2019, Says ‘ESPN’s’ Shelburne

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The Los Angeles Lakers will have their pick of top-tier free agents to choose from by the time the summer of 2019 rolls around. Kawhi Leonard has long made it clear that he wants to play for his hometown Lakers or Clippers, and there’s a chance that remains unchanged even after his move to the Toronto Raptors. Jimmy Butler recently said that he’s open to the idea of joining the Lakers as a 2019 free agent, while Kevin Durant, despite his championship success with the Golden State Warriors, could also consider a move to Los Angeles. The Lakers, however, appear to be most interested in Durant’s teammate, Klay Thompson, as they plan in advance for the 2019 offseason.

In a recent appearance on ESPN LAMornings with Keyshawn, LZ, and Travis, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne cited league sources as she explained why the Lakers apparently have Thompson on top of their priority list for 2019. She said that the Lakers will still try to target anyone who “wants to come” to Los Angeles, but for the meantime, Thompson has the skills that could make for the best fit with the Lakers.

“My feeling about it, my sense from just talking to people in and around this [is that] one, it’s a little early, but I think they like [former Lakers player Mychal Thompson’s] boy,” said Shelburne, as quoted by Silver Screen and Roll.

“I think that would be the guy, in terms of skillset 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.”

As noted by Bleacher Report, Mychal Thompson was an NBA veteran who played four seasons for the Lakers, helping lead them to championships in 1987 and 1988 as a backup center to Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He has also worked for the past 15 years as a color commentator on Lakers broadcasts. However, he had previously been quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle as saying that his son Klay will “retire in the Warriors uniform” and continue playing for the team for another seven or eight years.

Despite his father’s insistence that he won’t be leaving the Bay Area to play for another NBA team, Klay Thompson’s name has frequently been mentioned as someone who could mesh well with the Los Angeles Lakers, especially their recently signed superstar, LeBron James.

Earlier this week, Shelburne’s ESPN colleague, Stephen A. Smith, said that Thompson could be a better fit playing alongside James than fellow 2019 free agents Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant. As further noted by the Inquisitr, the likes of Los Angeles Sports Hub writer Jason Reed feel the same way about Thompson, who, if signed by the Lakers, could provide three-point shooting, defense, and scoring support to take the pressure off James.