Thompson: LeBron In L.A. For "The Short Term"

Former Lakers veteran Mychal Thompson thinks Magic Johnson is "going to continue to be aggressive" with LeBron James in the fold

Tiki and Tierney
July 05, 2018 - 3:21 pm
NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


After acquiring LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins through free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors, respectively, have been the talk of the town across the NBA for the last week or so.

Having personal connections with each team, former Lakers veteran and two-time NBA champion Mychal Thompson – who also happens to be the father of Warriors All-Star and well-known “splash brother” Klay Thompson – stopped by CBS Sports Radio to talk about the impending futures of both franchises.

When asked about James signing with his old team, Thompson believes that Magic Johnson, his ex-teammate and the current president of basketball operations for the Lakers, is currently in a win-now mindset, as Johnson hopes to utilize the four-time MVP’s talents for as long as possible, as well as provide the superstar with the resources necessary to compete for NBA titles.

“LeBron isn’t 23 — coming in at 33, going to be 34 — they know he’s here for the short-term,” Thompson said on Tiki and Tierney. “That’s why I think Magic is going to continue to be aggressive, and while (James) is here, they don’t want him to waste a single year at challenging the Warriors, the Rockets, and the Celtics for NBA superiority. So I expect the Lakers to continue to look to make things happen.”

One way to achieve this would be to make a deal with San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard, but Thompson thinks the Spurs will ask for a hefty price for the 2014 Finals MVP. Taking this into account, Thompson does realize that Spurs general manager R.C. Buford and head coach Gregg Popovich know they need to do something with Kawhi or risk losing him in free agency.

“Everybody knows that the Spurs will ask for at least three young prospects off this roster,” Thompson said. “I’m sure that’s what the Spurs are saying: ‘Okay we’re going to give Kawhi up, we want at least three young players and probably a draft pick or two.’ They’re not just going to give Kawhi away. I think the Spurs are going to realize that they better get something while they can because they don’t want to end up in the Kevin Durant situation, where he walks and they get nothing for him.”

In addition to giving his two cents on the league’s free-agency gossip, Thompson reflected on his experiences of following the Warriors for the past few years, and he states that process has actually been quite excruciating in a way.

“Going through the journey is agonizing,” Thompson said. “You know why? Because you will see people say, ‘Isn’t this fun?’ If you are the favorites to win, and you know you are the best, and everyone is expecting you to deliver, it’s so much pressure that you almost can’t enjoy it until it’s completed and finished. If you’re a team like Utah or Milwaukee, you’re happy to be there, but nobody’s expecting you to win. But when you’re expected to win, it’s so much pressure on you that you can’t enjoy it until the mission is accomplished, then you can sort of exhale. That’s how I feel watching the Warriors play.”

With his son approaching the opportunity to become a free agent in 2019, Thompson affirms that Klay does want to stay with the Warriors for the long-term.

“That’s up to the Warriors,” Thompson said. “Klay wants to play his whole career with the Warriors. That’s one of his goals to just be like Dirk Nowitzki and be like Kobe (Bryant). There’s no reason (to leave).”

When asked about who he will pull for when Los Angeles and Golden State play each other in the near future, Thompson considers it to be a win-win scenario for him.

“Well, in that situation, I can’t lose either way,” Thompson said. “My team wins, or my son wins. Either way, I’m a winner. That’s how I feel.”