Klay Thompson went down in Game 6 of the NBA Finals with a torn ACL, and the Los Angeles Lakers plans for the offseason may have gone down with it.
Thompson crumpled in pain after being fouled by Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green as Thompson was headed for a breakaway dunk in the third quarter. Thompson immediately grabbed his knee and writhed on the floor in pain, a scene frighteningly reminiscent of Kevin Durant’s torn Achilles in Game 5.
As ESPN noted, the prognosis for Thompson was as bad as Durant’s; the guard suffered a torn ACL, which his agent confirmed in the early morning hours on Friday.
The loss was devastating for the Warriors, who would go on to lose Game 6 as the Raptors took home their first-ever NBA title. Thompson had scored 30 points in 32 minutes during Game 6, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game that Thompson’s injury appeared to be the turning point as the Raptors surged in the fourth quarter.
“It’s amazement that we’re sitting in this position with — during the game, we have a chance to win the game and force a Game 7, go back to Toronto — you just think, ‘How? How has this group of guys put themselves in position to do it?'” Kerr said. “And then, as I said, when Klay goes down and is out for the game, it’s just sort of a, ‘You gotta be kidding me. This has to stop.'”
The injury could be devastating to more than just the Golden State Warriors. Klay was set to hit free agency this summer, and Bleacher Report noted that landing Klay would have been the “dream scenario” for the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers. After stumbling through the first season of the LeBron James era followed by front office turmoil with Magic Johnson abruptly resigning, many expected the Lakers to make a splash this summer.
“This would be a dream scenario for the Lakers,” the report noted. “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.”
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 14, 2019
It’s not clear how much interest the Los Angeles Lakers had in Klay Thompson — aside from the rampant NBA rumors and speculation from reporters, it was never clear if there were any solid reports that they planned to target him in free agency — but the injury will likely dampen overall interest, as Thompson is in jeopardy of missing the majority of the 2019-20 season.