Should Knicks target Thompson in 2019?
The third wheel of the Warriors dynasty will be a free agent next year.
Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson might be playing second or third fiddle to Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant by the Bay, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be paid like a superstar come next summer. The four-time All-Star is entering the final year of his four-year, $68.9 million deal where he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer, joining a loaded class that is also likely to include Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. Thompson hasn’t necessarily tipped his hand on whether or not he would leave Golden State, but he did admit to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher that “it would be hard for me to envision going anywhere else.” That would entail taking a hometown discount in free agency, which isn’t unprecedented considering Durant signed a cheaper deal with the Warriors last year to keep the core together. However, Thompson would be offered an opportunity to not just sign a max deal but to become a leading man of a franchise, two incentives which could be hard to turn down. There will be plenty of interest once he hits the market, too. Los Angeles Lakers With the organization trending upwards once again and with the best player on the planet wearing purple and gold, the Lakers will be able to create one of the strongest pitches for free agents next summer. Not only will you have a chance to play in one of the nicest, most glamorous cities in the country, but you’ll get to play alongside one of the greatest players of all-time. New York Knicks While the Lakers are trending up, the Knicks are likely to stay near the bottom of the Eastern Conference for at least another season. With Kristaps Porzingis recovering from a torn ACL that could keep him out until at least February, New York will be trotting out an unimpressive lineup almost every night. But rookie Kevin Knox could very well be a future star in the NBA, which would create a youthful one-two punch alongside Porzingis for the Knicks in 2019. President Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry are also making room for two max-salary slots next summer, which means the Knicks are going to be a common name in negotiations for big stars. Oklahoma City Thunder With Paul George and Russell Westbrook signed for the long haul, the Oklahoma City Thunder are two solid pieces away from legitimately joining the conversation as a premier Western Conference team alongside the Warriors and Houston Rockets. OKC is in need of a serious upgrade at the shooting guard position as Andre Roberson doesn’t provide much of an offensive threat at 2.