‘Would this be trading one fishbowl for another?’ Inside Klay Thompson’s choice to spurn Lakers

Jason Simpson
3 Min Read
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

In a short period of time, NBA veteran Klay Thompson went from being a seemingly unrealistic offseason target for the Los Angeles Lakers to suddenly being linked to the Purple and Gold to being off the table for L.A. entirely.

The Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks reportedly completed a sign-and-trade earlier this week sending Thompson to Dallas, an outcome that has left some folks disappointed, including the sharpshooter’s father.

The Lakers and superstar LeBron James gave it a real shot in the Thompson sweepstakes. But in the end, at least one factor may have been out of their control.

“That left the Lakers,” wrote ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Kendra Andrews. “His father’s team. His idol’s team. LeBron’s team. The team ultimately was willing to offer Thompson more years and more money than he accepted from Dallas. Sources said James was willing to take less and the Lakers were trying to make trades that would’ve cleared four years and nearly $80 million for Thompson.

“James had several deep conversations with Thompson about the idea of playing together, sources said.

“But something about playing for the Lakers apparently felt too much like playing for the Warriors. As one source close to him put it, ‘Would this be trading one fishbowl for another?'”

Dallas was reportedly Thompson’s top choice, and he’ll now get a chance to pursue another championship with the team that represented the Western Conference in the 2024 NBA Finals.

With the 34-year-old wanting a fresh start following the end of his Golden State tenure, perhaps leaving one iconic franchise with superstar talent (the Warriors) for another in the same state (the Lakers) wouldn’t have represented the clean slate he was looking for.

Thompson won four NBA titles with the Warriors while also racking up a number of individual accolades, including five All-Star nods. His prime years may be over, but there was clearly a market for him before his deal to join the Mavericks came together, so he certainly appears to still have value in the eyes of NBA decision-makers.

In the 2023-24 season, he averaged 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from deep. For his career, he’s a 41.3 percent 3-point shooter.

The Lakers, meanwhile, will now have to explore other avenues if they want to significantly upgrade their roster. After making the playoffs this past season but losing in the first round, L.A. will likely need to make some changes this offseason in order to keep up in the Western Conference.

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Jason is excited about the LeBron James era of Lakers basketball and hopes that the end result will be multiple championships.