On February 14, The Athletic’s Shams Charania joined Bally Sports’ “The Rally” where the NBA insider linked the ninth-placed Lakers to a handful of veteran buyout candidates, including ex-Celtics big man Tristan Thompson.
“I think the Lakers would love to get involved with Goran Dragic. Tristan Thompson is another guy who might be in the mix,” said Charania. “It’s a tough situation to be a Laker right now. When you look at the roster at guys like DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore, they really haven’t got much out of those guys. If you have a player coming in, how do you really see a role there? They are trying to go small at times, looking for youth — I don’t know if they know what direction they are going in. But yes, they will be active with the Goran Dragic and Tristan Thompsons of the world.”
Thompson’s Future in Indiana
Thompson, 30, was traded to the Indiana Pacers earlier this month as part of the pre-deadline Domantas Sabonis blockbuster. Since arriving in Indiana, the former No. 4 overall pick has logged exactly 15 minutes in his three appearances, totaling 12 points and 12 rebounds.
“Thompson’s future in Indiana is unclear,” James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star wrote on February 9. “The Pacers are still mulling whether to buyout the rest of the $9.7 million he’s owed on his expiring contract or to bolster their frontcourt with him.”
Prior to his trade to the Pacers, Thompson appeared in 30 games with the Sacramento Kings this season, averaging 6.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest. This is the first season since 2015 that the 11-year-pro hasn’t served as a primary starter. In 2020-21 — his lone season with the Celtics — Thompson started 43 of 54 games, averaging 7.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Of course, Thompson has a past history with Lakers star LeBron James, as the two spent seven seasons as teammates in Cleveland (2011-2017). Along the way, the pair captured an NBA Championship during the 2015-16 season.
Celtics Making a Push
While the Lakers sit 21 games out of first place in the West and are currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak, the Celtics find themselves soaring up the Eastern Conference ranks. After a 48-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers on February 15 — their ninth-consecutive victory — the Cs sit just 3.5 games out of first place and are looking the part of legitimate contenders.
“They just beat us all night off the dribble,” said 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, via Celtics.com. “They got into the paint, and they moved the ball. That’s the one thing, you watch Boston play, and you can literally see the improvement of their ball movement. The old Boston was more isos, this Boston is driving and playing with each other. That’s what makes them so much tougher. I think it makes Tatum and Brown even tougher when they move the ball like that.”
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