Throughout the 2017-18 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers have been constantly linked to LeBron James and Paul George in this upcoming free agency. While that is certainly Plan A for president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, they have options thanks to a competitive young core and a nine-game improvement in Year 2 under head coach Luke Walton.
Depending on how the offseason goes, the Lakers could be major players in next year’s free agency, which features Klay Thompson, among others. One report suggested Thompson and George would up with the Lakers.
But in discussing his upcoming free agency, Thompson admitted walking away from the Golden State Warriors would not be easy, via Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:
“I was part of building this culture,” he says. “It wouldn’t be leaving everything I worked for behind, but it would be a whole new start. I was one of the pioneers of this. I’m one of the longest-tenured players here besides Steph, so I’m very prideful of the turnaround the Warriors have made. Just because I’m not the face of the franchise doesn’t mean I’m not recognized for it. Real fans and the people in the organization and my peers around the league, they see the work I’ve put in and realize I’ve been a huge component to the success here for the last five, six, seven years, so I have an identity here. It would be hard for me to envision going anywhere else.”
Al though the Warriors are looking to win their third championship in four consecutive NBA Finals appearances, it was not always like this.
After finishing with a 36-46 record during the 2010-11 season, the Warriors drafted Thompson with the No. 11 pick and went on to finish with a 23-43 record in a lockout-shortened season.
Since then, the Warriors have positioned themselves as the league’s next dynasty and Thompson has been a significant part. Even if he does not receive the same attention as Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant.
Although the two-time champion has ties to the Lakers, because of his father, it appears re-signing with the Warriors is his top priority unless something drastic happens over the next year.