Los Angeles Lakers Reportedly Pursuing New All-Star After Missing On Klay Thompson

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers rumors ahead of NBA free agency linked the team to Klay Thompson and Jonas Valanciunas as two of the team’s top targets. With both players off the board, Los Angeles seems to be shifting its focus to a new All-Star player.

Thompson, a Los Angeles native, agreed to a three-year, $50 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. The former Golden State Warriors star was reportedly choosing between Los Angeles and Dallas, ultimately choosing the team he felt offered him the best chance to win a championship.

Related: Projecting a 2024 Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff

The Lakers were one of the teams believed to be offering Thompson a four-year contract estimated to be in the range of $80 million total. With his decision to sign with Dallas, pending a sign-and-trade with Golden State, Los Angeles can now shift its focus to a new target.

Appearing on NBA TV, TNT Sports NBA insider Chris Haynes said the Lakers have been in communication with DeMar DeRozan’s agent. While a deal isn’t imminent, there is mutual interest in a deal.

“It will either take a one-year deal or a sign-and-trade where you can get a three-year deal going.”

Chris Haynes on Los Angeles Lakers’ interest in DeMar DeRozan

The Chicago Bulls are prepared to lose DeRozan in NBA free agency. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times reported on Monday that Chicago trading for Josh Giddey was the “final straw” in the relationship between DeRozan and the Bulls.

Also Read: Shohei Ohtani Home Run Tracker

Now, the All-Star is using NBA free agency to determine what path is best for him moving forward. With Dallas landing Klay Thompson and the Philadelphia 76ers pulling in Paul George, Los Angeles could be the best landing spot.

  • DeMar DeRozan stats (ESPN): 24.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 5.3 APG< 48% FG, 33.3% 3PT
DeMar DeRozan24.
Klay Thompson17.93/32.3.5760.075

DeRozan would provide a few of the things Los Angeles is looking for. Last season, he shot 39.4 percent on three-point attempts from the corner and he shot over 49 percent from 10-16 feet out. However, with limited playmakers in Chicago, only 28.2 percent of DeRozan’s two-point attempts were assisted on, which would improve with the Lakers.

Also Read: Best NBA players of all time, including Los Angeles Lakers legends

Chicago has been seeking to part ways with Lonzo Ball or Zach LaVine, but neither would likely be of interest to the Lakers. Instead, the Lakers and Bulls could figure out a sign-and-trade deal with DeRozan, which would set up a multi-year deal.

With Thompson and Valanciunas off the board, DeRozan is likely one of the focal points among the Lakers free-agent targets. Given his ties to the region, it’s possible he joins the Lakers on the mid-level exception.