Klay Thompson felt the Lakers’ situation was too similar to the Warriors’ – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

Klay Thompson needed a fresh start after 13 years with the Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks offered him that.

However, the Los Angeles Lakers did not.

After it was reported that Thompson was limiting his decision to become a free agent to the Mavericks and Lakers, many — including the sharpshooter’s father — wondered why he didn’t head to Hollywood. Well, the situation in Los Angeles reportedly seemed too similar to San Francisco, in Thompson’s eyes.

“But something about playing for the Lakers apparently felt too much like playing for the Warriors,” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Kendra Andrews reported in a feature story Wednesday. “As one source close to him put it, ‘Is this like trading one fishbowl for another?’

“The only thing Thompson had talked about in the two weeks since he decided and accepted that his time with the Warriors was over was that he wanted ‘new experiences’ and a ‘fresh start.’ Dallas seemed like a better place to get that.”

Thompson left Golden State after it missed the NBA playoffs for the first time with the three of them, Steph Curry and Draymond Green, all healthy. Thompson infamously shot 0-for-10 in the Warriors’ season-ending loss to the Sacramento Kings in the NBA Play-In Tournament in April.

The Lakers, who were just as sad, finished the 2023-24 regular season as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, getting blown out in the first round by the Denver Nuggets. That’s a huge disappointment considering the hype a team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves gets every night.

Would Thompson have found himself in a similar situation with Los Angeles? Probably.

There’s no telling what his role would be with the Lakers. Thompson could easily have been benched behind Reaves or Russell as he was behind then-Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski. Or Thompson could have been a starter.

Either way, Thompson would certainly be under the microscope — much more so than he would be in the Bay — for the slightest missteps. Los Angeles sports fans are among the most passionate with uncomfortable expectations, and the 34-year-old certainly doesn’t need that right now — as a four-time NBA champion, especially.

Instead, Thompson sought a balance between title contention, opportunity and less attention, and he ultimately found that with Dallas.

It was probably flattering for Thompson to know that the team he grew up rooting for, where his Lakers player-turned-announcer father still works, wanted him badly. It also didn’t hurt that one of the best basketball players in the world was willing to take a pay cut for him, Shelburne and Andrews said, citing sources.

But it seems James and Los Angeles weren’t the right fit for Thompson, and the former Warriors star was forced to distance himself from his troubles in California and seek better places in the Lone Star State.

The Mavericks, fresh off an NBA Finals loss to the Boston Celtics, were potentially a Thompson away from winning the ring this season. They will be in contention again next season.

Thompson finds himself in a new situation with new players eager to stay in the game, while the Warriors and Lakers are years removed from their glory days and have virtually identical rosters.

It’s safe to say Thompson made the right decision by choosing Dallas over Los Angeles.

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