The latest reports from the LA Times’ Brad Turner indicate that should Golden State not offer Klay Thompson the full max contract (which they are reported to be doing), he might wind up considering some other options in free agency.
Klay is coming off an unfortunate knee injury where he repeatedly tried to force himself back onto the court to help his team before eventually succumbing to the training staff and being taken away for an MRI. With a torn ACL, Klay likely isn’t expected back until late next season – think February or March at the earliest.
Despite being on the shelf for the first few months of what will be his new contract, the value Klay can add to a team is one of the more underrated aspects of the Warriors. The perfect off-ball compliment to a ball-dominant guard, Klay has a quick (and deadly) trigger from deep and rarely needs to dribble the ball to average his 20+ points per game.
Lakers Free Agency: Where Klay Thompson Ranks Among Top Targets
Despite being injured, Klay is still at the top of the most valued free agent targets on the market. While behind the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, and fellow teammate Kevin Durant, Klay highlights the next tier of max-caliber players available on the market. Klay is one of the deadliest shooters in the history of the NBA while providing lockdown defense on the opposing team’s best guard.
His defense has helped the Warriors to hide Stephen Curry‘s deficiencies on the defensive end while providing them a reliable safety net who really doesn’t need the ball in his hands to impact the game. That sort of skillset is extremely rare and should he be healthy, arguably the only players more coveted would be Leonard and Durant.
Lakers Kawhi Leonard Updates
Reports surfaced today that not only was Leonard meeting with the Lakers but he would be seriously considering their offer. The news rocked the basketball world as the idea of a big three involving Leonard, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis would be a collection of talent on par (if not better on paper) than some of the greatest superteams ever assembled.
While signing a max free agent like Kawhi (or Klay) would limit the Lakers ability to bolster their supporting cast, this year’s free agent class is relatively deep and the Lakers should be able to entice some quality players to come on board via a veteran minimum contract to chase a ring.