Warriors Part Ways with Klay Thompson: Lakers Next?

Thompson's future uncertain as contract talks stall

by Nouman Rasool
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Warriors Part Ways with Klay Thompson: Lakers Next?
© Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Confession time: The sight of Klay Thompson in any uniform that doesn't have the Golden State Warriors' blue and gold is... weird. However, it seems inevitable. So no, don't count the Warriors or Thompson nearing an extension. They just hadn't spoken to each other in weeks and didn't even make an offer, according Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Warriors have since moved on to other targets, such as Paul George (though that's not happening). Both sides have moved on. So, what’s next for Thompson? As has been noted by The Athletic and others, the Lakers, Clippers, and Mavericks have expressed interest in bringing him aboard.

Thompson, ultra productive in Washington win with less than 72 hours prep against a stingy Wizards defense, last played March before season-ending Achilles tear vs Warriors at homeletic career that comes around just every so often into a his mid-30s...

He's still valuable but both his offense has become increasingly streaky and his defense is declining. This early, Thompson was more of a good role player than star. The teams that are after him want a vet who is capable of playing huge minutes in the postseason.

Sign-and-Trade Options

Thompson is eligible for Dallas or Los Angeles to offer the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, $12. That's well below what Thompson was hoping to fetch on the open market. The Warriors are willing to cooperate in a sign-and-trade scenario this summer, either increasing Thompson's salary or receiving back something of value in exchange.

This sort of teams have an obstacle- cost constraint.

If they re-sign Thompson via the mid-level exception or a sign-and-trade, it hard caps them at $178.7 million their first tax apron. This is a number these teams were supposed to soar past. Thompson has ties to Lakers. His dad, Mychal Thompson won championships with the Showtime Lakers.

Using a trade package built around D'Angelo Russell (who just opted in at $18.7 million), one of Cam Reddish or Jaxson Hayes on minimum salary, and a first-round pick as an example only seems fair to me; THE LA LAKERS Note: Thompson would have to sign at the MLE level for an offer sheet equal to or in excess of this deal.

That said, the mid-level exception is still a straightforward tool. Per reports, LeBron James is advocating hard for the Lakers to sign Thompson and willing to shave $16 million off his own paycheck if necessary. The Lakers could offer LeBron the full $162 million over three years without Thompson or other moves landed soon. LeBron, who is on his way to Las Vegas with Team USA scrimmage wants the deal locked up before then.

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