There is a lot of talk the struggling Lakers can be saved this summer by adding Kevin Durant or trading for Anthony Davis, and neither of them should be in the Lakers dream scenario. The best case is signing free-agent-to-be Klay Thompson. As last night’s all-time great performance showed, Thompson would greatly benefit from leaving the Warriors, while that pales in comparison to just how much the Lakers need him. And by Lakers, that means LeBron James.
LeBron is only judged by championships these days and his best chance of increasing his number is if the Lakers can snatch Thompson away from the team he openly describes as the “juggernaut.” Thompson would significantly improve the Lakers and LeBron’s title chances. The reason is Thompson’s importance on the Warriors and the potential fit on Lakers.
Thompson is much more vital to the Warriors success than Kevin Durant and, quite frankly, it is not even close. Durant and Steph Curry work together if they are willing to play, “your night, my night,” but do not mesh ideally on the floor together. Curry and Thompson, on the other hand, complement each other creating an efficient ball movement while the daunting three-point threat hangs over defenders’ minds. Thompson has routinely created havoc for opposing guards as well as being the silent leader that hold this teams together. As his teammates and coaches explained, he is the glue that holds them together.
Thompson simultaneously would improve the Lakers more than any other superstar on this planet. His historically great three-point shooting is exactly this Lakers team’s problem. That is also a style that has always gelled well with LeBron, as it would with the pass-first Lonzo Ball. As well as improving their defense, Thompson would enhance the Lakers ball movement as opposed to halting it like most superstars would. Perhaps most importantly, his personality works the best with the always melodramatic LeBron.
Durant and LeBron may be friends now, but how long can LeBron’s subtweets and Durant’s lashing out on social media not cross paths?
Translation: Thompson leaving the Warriors and joining the Lakers greatly diminishes the Warriors while making the Lakers championship contenders, if not favorites. If Durant leaves and Thompson stays, the Warriors are not that much worse … who knows maybe they would win 73 games?
Thompson should also want to leave the Warriors, as last night’s 53-point showing proved. As important as Thompson has become to the Warriors, his resume is never improved. In Golden State, it will always be Curry’s team and Thompson will always just be part of the arsenal. Or if not Curry then Durant’s team. While, the Lakers would not be his team either, and maybe that entices him to look somewhere like New York if that is something he wants, Thompson would be in great position to become the heir apparent to LeBron. Not only would Thompson become the best player on the Lakers when the inevitable father time kicks in for LeBron with a loaded young core, what his departure would do to the Warriors would always be attached to his Hall-of-Fame legacy.
If Durant stays with the Warriors, he should want to leave even more. Thompson’s unbelievably bad shooting slump last week was due to being the third option and the lack of rhythm. This is not about Thompson’s ego, it is about creating the legacy he knows he can create.
The Lakers wishlist should include Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, but Klay Thompson should be at the top for what he can do.