2019 NBA Free Agent Profile: Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson (Credit: Dillon Hiser/Lakers Outsiders)

For most players, suffering an injury right before they enter free agency would be problematic. However, with someone who has the kind of status in the league that Klay Thompson does, teams will still want him on their roster despite the ACL tear.

After reporting that Klay Thompson had in fact suffered a torn ACL, Adrian Wojnarowski noted that Klay could be out until February or March. 

With the addition of Anthony Davis, the Lakers are back in the title discussions for next season. While Klay would be a great addition to any team despite his injury, if he’s expecting more money, he might not be the best fit for the Lakers. He made just under $19 million this year and he’s one of the free agents who could easily seek out a significant pay raise. 

This past season was a complete embarrassment to the franchise and hopefully the Anthony Davis trade gets them back on track. They’ll still need one more player who can step up and round out the roster, if not a few more role players.

When it comes to ACL tears, it’s hard to know if Klay will come back and be back to his usual self. There’s no doubt that the Lakers could use more help with their outside shooting and their defense. It’s just a matter of how well Klay would be able to move laterally on the defensive end. I don’t expect that his catch-and-shoot daggers would be too affected by the injury.

During the season, Klay averaged 21.5 points per game and that’s on a team with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. If he were to come to the Lakers, he’d be a reliable shooter that could take some pressure off of Davis and LeBron James. 

Klay also has a connection to Los Angeles and that could factor into the decision of where he signs next should he choose to leave. He was born in LA and his father Mychal Thompson won two championships with the Lakers. If the team hadn’t acquired Davis, though, the Lakers might not have been as appealing to him. Plus, the Lakers are planning to interview Warriors’ assistant Ron Adams.

Injury aside, Klay would be an instant contributor in time for the playoffs next season. He’s a player the Lakers would be remiss to not consider during free agency. With the cap space that they could have available (depending on the timing of the Davis deal), there would potentially still be room to pick up some decent role players, too.

Would it be a little risky to take him anyway, though? Possibly. There’s always the chance that he doesn’t bounce back from it as well as one would hope, but for the Lakers, taking risks would be preferred to playing it safe. They’ve made some bad choices over the last few years that have cost them.

Without taking risks, they are leaving little room for big rewards to come out of their decisions. Plenty of other teams will be willing to take the risk if the Lakers don’t and that’s exactly why they should heavily consider trying to persuade Klay to join the team.

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