While there was an expectation the Los Angeles Lakers would sign two max-level players in free agency this summer, they instead added LeBron James to their young core and preserved salary cap space for what’s expected to be a loaded class of 2019 free agents.
The group should include the likes current Golden State Warriors teammates Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving and Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, among others.
Leonard was connected to the Lakers prior to the San Antonio Spurs trading the disgruntled All-Star to the Raptors. It’s believed Leonard remains focused on signing with the Lakers on Clippers in 2019 free agency.
Meanwhile, it’s long been speculated Thompson would have interest in returning to his local roots and joining the Lakers that his father, Mychal, won two championships with.
However, Thompson continues to maintain his preference is to re-sign with the Warriors, per Mark Medina of the Mercury News:
“I’ve said it many times before: I would like to be a Warrior for life,” Thompson told Bay Area News Group before hosting a party at Hotel Vitale as a prelude to his first annual Thompson Family Foundation Golf Tournament on Sunday at TPC Harding Park. “Contract negotiations are way down the line. But I think we all have the same interest. I would love to be here for the rest of my career.”
Nonetheless, the 28-year-old admitted he will likely become a free agent next summer as opposed to signing an extension prior to or during the 2018-19 season.
“It’s tough to say,” Thompson said. “I’d definitely be interested. But at the end of the day, I’m going to be a free agent in 2019. Number one on my list would obviously be to stay with the Warriors.”
If and how the Warriors manage to keep their core together beyond this season remains one of the more intriguing questions. If they should encounter any trouble, the Lakers could be in prime position to reap the benefit.
Particularly if they have a successful first season with James lead the team.