Klay Thompson Would ‘Love’ to Join One of Warriors’ Biggest Rivals: Report

Warriors' Jonathan Kuminga, Klay Thompson

Getty Jonathan Kuminga #00 of the Golden State Warriors reacts with Klay Thompson #11 after drawing his fifth foul against the Atlanta Hawks.

Klay Thompson could be on his way out of the Golden State Warriors organization this summer and if he has his druthers, he will end up with one of the team’s biggest rivals.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN reported during the Monday, June 17 edition of “First Take” that Thompson would “love” to link up with the Los Angeles Lakers for the latter stages of his career.

“In a perfect world, Klay would love to be in Los Angeles,” Smith said. “We all know that. I’m talking about the Lakers. I mean, could you imagine?”

Thompson’s father, Mychal Thompson, played 13 seasons in the NBA. His final four came with the Lakers, where he won two championship rings.

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Klay Thompson

GettyKlay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors embraces LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers prior to an NBA game in October 2023.

Unfortunately for Lakers fans — or perhaps fortunately, depending on how they view Thompson’s relative decline since 2019 when back-to-back ACL and Achilles injuries sidelined him for the following two and a half years — imagining on the matter is all they’ll likely be able to do.

Smith went on to note that salary cap constrictions in Los Angeles render the addition of Thompson a long shot, at best. Smith also added that he believes the New York Knicks are a more likely destination for Thompson due to their needs in free agency this summer along with the cap space at their disposal.

The dip in Thompson’s play is significant when considered in the context of who he was before his injuries. Thompson earned trips to five consecutive All-Star Games between 2015-19, during which the Warriors went to five consecutive NBA Finals and won three rings.

Playing alongside two-time MVP Stephen Curry, Thompson averaged between 20-22.3 points per game in all five of those campaigns and shot between 40.2%-44% from behind the 3-point line on between 7.1-8.3 attempts in those seasons.

Thompson, now 34 years old, averaged 17.9 points per game and 38.7% from deep in 2023-24, per Basketball Reference. That said, with salaries spiking across the league and likely to continue trending in that direction as new television deals are on the near horizon, Thompson’s floor spacing skills and ability to go off offensively on any given night render him a valuable commodity as a potential third or fourth starter on a contending team.

That is particularly in the Easter Conference, where the competition is not nearly as staunch as it has become in the West.

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Warriors star Klay Thompson

Getty Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

Thompson is no longer in the conversation as arguably the top two-way wing player in the league, as his defensive abilities and versatility have dropped off. That said, he is still a reasonable defender, which renders him a high-end three-and-D player in the league.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report has floated the Orlando Magic as a potential landing spot, to go along with Smith noting the Knicks as a decent bet to at least inquire about Thompson’s services. Whichever organization nabs Thompson this summer — be it the Warriors, Lakers, Knicks, Magic or some other team — is probably going to have to offer the shooting guard at least three years on a new contract to get the deal done.

“Thompson realizes he won’t see anything like his expiring contract, a five-year max worth $190 million,” Monte Poole of NBA Sports reported on June 17. “League sources indicate he’s seeking an offer of at least three years.”

Golden State offered Thompson a two-year deal worth $48 million ahead of last season, which he declined.

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