With the news that JaVale McGee is going to stick around for another year, the Los Angeles Lakers don’t have a huge need at center. That’s not going to stop them from trying to upgrade the position. McGee and Dwight Howard did fine jobs last season but there could be some more upside on the market.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, the Lakers sound very interested in Cleveland Cavaliers free agent Tristan Thompson:
The Lakers would love to land Tristan Thompson, an ex-LeBron James teammate in Cleveland who would shore up the front line.
LeBron James turned some heads when he tweeted about spending time with Thompson. His opinion holds a lot of weight within the organization so if he wants Thompson, the Lakers will probably make an effort to get him. He wouldn’t be an expensive option and could serve as Anthony Davis‘ backup. He could also play center in smaller lineups for the Lakers.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
Would Signing Thompson Be a Good Move?
Thompson isn’t a game-breaker. He only averages 9.4 points a game over his career and doesn’t shoot 3s. That said, he’s a big, athletic body who can pull in a lot of rebounds. He’d probably be a good fit in the locker room due to his relationship with LeBron.
Dwight Howard is a free agent and it remains to be seen what the Lakers might want to do with him. He was solid for the team last season but he’s probably not going to get as much money as he probably wants. Thompson could end up replacing Howard and shouldn’t cost more money. Thompson has experience coming off the bench and while he’s made some bad headlines in the past, he shouldn’t be too much of a risk to cause headaches for the team.
Raptors Also Interested in Thompson
However, the Lakers aren’t the only team showing interest in Thompson. The Toronto Raptors could make a run at the big man, according to Mannix:
The Raptors, who could lose both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, are expected to pursue the Toronto-born big man. With Andre Drummond opting into the final year of his contract, Thompson’s time with the Cavs could be over.
Thompson is from Canada so he could be interested in moving closer to home. That said, they’ll be playing in sunny Tampa Bay, Florida this season so the close to home factor might not be very strong this season. Plus, Thompson has a child with Khloe Kardashian. Guess where she lives? Los Angeles. The allure of living closer to his daughter is probably a lot stronger than moving closer to where he’s from.
Coming and playing for the Lakers makes a lot of sense. They might not necessarily need a player like him that much if the plan is to retain Howard but there shouldn’t be any reason he wouldn’t want to go to the team.