In the 2018 NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers earned plenty of criticism for their decision to surround LeBron James with playmakers instead of shooters. At first, then-Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka looked very confident with their plan, but the outcome of the 2018-19 NBA season proved that prioritizing playmakers over shooters was a huge mistake. As of now, the Lakers must have already learned from their previous actions and are expected to do the right thing in the summer of 2019.
Most of the players that the Lakers controversially signed in the last offseason will have their contracts expire after the 2018-19 NBA season, giving them the salary cap flexibility to chase a big name who will be available on the free agency market in July. In the past months, the Lakers have been linked to several incoming free agent superstars, including Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, and Jimmy Butler. Of all those top-tier free agents, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report believes that the successful acquisition of Thompson in the 2019 NBA free agency would be a “dream scenario” for the Purple and Gold.
“This would be a dream scenario for the Lakers. Put one of the best shooters in NBA history next to James who is also a 6’7″ elite defender with championship experience all while weakening your biggest challenger for a ring. Thompson is already a five-time All-Star at age 29 and has never shot under 40.1 percent from three in his eight professional seasons. No offense to Ray Allen, but Thompson would be the best pure shooter James has ever shared the court with.”
Klay Thompson will be an incredible addition to the Lakers, giving them an All-Star caliber shooter who can efficiently play with other NBA superstars and excel in an off-ball capacity. Having one of the best three-point shooters on their roster will help the Lakers maximize LeBron James’ effectiveness on the court. With Thompson on the floor, it will be easier for James to drive inside the basket or kick the ball out if he’s trapped by the opposing team’s defense. If the Lakers succeed in signing him, Thompson will in no doubt become one of the best teammates James ever had in his entire NBA career.
However, as Swartz noted, the major problem in the Lakers’ pursuit of Klay Thompson is convincing him to leave the Warriors. Thompson has said on numerous occasions that he intends to re-sign with the Warriors and finish his NBA career with Golden State. The only way that the Lakers will have a chance of stealing Thompson is if the Warriors offer him less than the max in the 2019 NBA free agency.