After all the talk of Kawhi Leonard having his heart set on coming to Los Angeles next offseason, the Lakers may have had a change of heart themselves regarding signing Kawhi.
Speaking on ESPN LA 710’s Mornings with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis, ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne reported that the Lakers were higher on Golden State’s Klay Thompson rather than the recently-traded Kawhi Leonard.
“In terms of who they target next year, it’s whoever wants to come. My feeling about it, my sense from just talking to people in and around this [is that] one, it’s a little early, but I think they like Mychal’s boy. I think that would be the guy, in terms of skillset and how that would fit. Obviously Kawhi [Leonard], he’s a great player as well, but we’ll see if he stays in Toronto now. But I think they like Klay [Thompson].”
The move isn’t as far-fetched as it seems, as Klay’s father, Mychal, played for the Lakers between 1986-1991, winning titles in ’87 and ’88, so the family connection is already there.
On top of that, Los Angeles will have $38 million in cap space next summer after the stretching and waiving of Luol Deng’s contract, giving the Lakers more flexibility financially and allowing them to sign a max free agent, whether that be Thompson or Leonard.
Whether Thompson will consider signing with the Lakers is a different story altogether. LA has proven that can lay on both ends of the spectrum, missing out on Paul George when it was considered a sure thing, and hitting on LeBron James when no one thought it was possible, so even if it’s assumed Klay won’t want to leave a good thing in Oakland, there may be 38 million reasons to change his mind.