While the focus of the Los Angeles Lakers has long been signing max-level free agents in the 2018 offseason, there have been rumblings of the team being comfortable saving cap space until 2019 to sign big fish then. One of their potential 2019 targets, however, may soon be off the market.
According to the Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors are currently in the negotiation stage of a contract extension that would take the shooting guard off the market in 2019.
Thompson has recently made clear that he would prefer to remain with the Warriors long-term. Still, this is somewhat surprising news as signing an extension now not only removes Thompson’s leverage in negotiations – with no chance to receive other offers – but also significantly reduces the amount of money he can make on this contract. This would make the Warriors clear winners as it would limit their luxury tax payments and make it easier to continue paying a core consisting of four All-Stars.
The Lakers have been linked to Thompson before, namely through his hometown connection. Although there have been no tangible reports that the three-point shooter would want a return to Southern California, Thompson was always a potential contingency plan if the Lakers were unable to sign both Paul George and LeBron James in 2018.
The list of 2019 free agents still includes stars like Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, should the Lakers want to be players for their services at that time.