LeBron James Hopes Lakers Land Former NBA Champion in Free Agency

The superstar forward wants the Lakers to go after Klay Thompson in free agency.
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

With the 2024 NBA Draft in the rearview mirror, the Los Angeles Lakers can put all their energy and effort into free agency. The Lakers could reportedly re-sign superstar forward LeBron James to a max three-year, $162 million contract.

However, James “is willing to work with the Lakers” about potentially signing a deal lower than the max, opening up the MLE ($12.9 million) to land an impact player, according to Rich Paul of Klutch Sports

Some players James would make that financial sacrifice for are James Harden, Klay Thompson, or Jonas Valanciunas, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Thompson immediately jumps out as he’s likely to become an unrestricted free agent after spending his entire career with the Golden State Warriors.

The former four-time NBA champion is reportedly getting interest from many teams, including the Lakers. According to longtime NBA insider Marc Stein, James is “hopeful” the Lakers can mount a bid to challenge the Dallas Mavericks for Thompson.

Even though Thompson is 34 years old, he could be a great addition to a Lakers squad that could use more three-point shooting. This season, Los Angeles shot 37.7 percent from the beyond arc as a team, good for eighth in the Association.

However, the Lakers could not find that same shooting touch in the NBA playoffs, as they shot a horrible 29.9 from three-point range. Thompson may not be the player we saw a few years ago, but he scored 17.9 points per game on 38.7 percent shooting from deep this season.

If you took Thompson’s stats with Golden State and put them on the Lakers this season, he would be their fourth-leading scorer behind LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and D’Angelo Russell. Thompson would also be one of the Lakers’ top three-point marksmen.

We don’t know what type of offense new head coach JJ Redick will run this season, but having one of the best three-point shooters to play alongside James and Davis should open up the floor for the Lakers. 

However, the biggest question that remains for the Lakers is whether they can convince Thompson to take the full MLE. Or will the Lakers have to make other moves to give the veteran a more lucrative offer?

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