NBA Rumors: Klay Thompson ‘Could Look At’ L.A. Lakers If Warriors Don’t Offer Max Deal, Per ‘ESPN’

Do the Lakers have a real chance of acquiring Klay Thompson in the 2019 NBA free agency?

Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors drives against Lance Stephenson #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers during their preseason game at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Do the Lakers have a real chance of acquiring Klay Thompson in the 2019 NBA free agency?

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson is expected to be one of the most coveted superstars in the 2019 NBA free agency. However, whenever he’s asked questions about his impending free agency, the 29-year-old All-Star guard said that he plans to re-sign and finish his NBA career with the Warriors.

The ESPN forecast panel recently gave their predictions regarding the fate of several NBA superstars in the 2019 NBA offseason. Most ESPN analysts highly expected Klay Thompson to ink a new contract with the Warriors, with teams who are expected to have a max slot, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks, getting only 5.6 percent and 2.8 percent votes, respectively. However, ESPN believes that Thompson “could look at” teaming up with LeBron James in Los Angeles if he doesn’t get a max contract from the Warriors.

“Our panel doesn’t buy that Thompson might walk in free agency, overwhelmingly predicting he re-signs with Golden State. Thompson continues to be open about his desire to return, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that if Thompson doesn’t get a full max offer from the Warriors, he could look at the Lakers.”

If Klay Thompson decides to entertain offers from other NBA teams, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka are expected to be very aggressive in adding him to their roster. Thompson may not be on the level of other incoming free agent superstars like Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant, but he would undeniably be an incredible acquisition for the Lakers.

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Aside from his defense, Klay Thompson’s ability to excel in an off-ball capacity makes him the ideal acquisition for a team who has LeBron James on their roster. This season, Thompson is averaging 21.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals on 46.7 percent shooting from the field, and 39.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc. If the Lakers sign Thompson and also acquire Anthony Davis via trade next summer, they could become one of the favorites to win the NBA championship in the 2019-20 NBA season.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, it is less likely that the Warriors will give them the opportunity to make their free agency pitch for Klay Thompson. When free agency hits next July, the Warriors are expected to immediately negotiate a new contract with the All-Star shooting guard. Giving Thompson and Kevin Durant max contracts will bury the Warriors deep in luxury tax hell, but team owner Joe Lacob already said earlier this month that they are willing to spend a huge amount of money just to keep their championship core together.