Lakers moving on from Klay Thompson to another All-Star wing in free agency

The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing to accept that Klay Thompson is off the market by prioritizing a different All-Star wing in free agency.
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

After missing out on top free agency priority Klay Thompson, the Los Angeles Lakers have been sent back to the drawing board. It's become a far too familiar feeling, as the likes of Dejounte Murray, Chris Paul, and Jonas Valančiūnas are among the others to have fallen just beyond Los Angeles' reach.

Rather than feeling sorry for themselves, however, the Lakers are proceeding with a different target in mind—a multi-time All-Star, no less.

Thompson would've addressed the Lakers' need to improve its three-point shooting. He also would've brought a championship pedigree to a team that's looking to win its second title with Anthony Davis and LeBron James leading the charge.

With Thompson off the board, however, Brian Windhorst of ESPN is reporting that DeMar DeRozan has landed on the Lakers' radar—and Jovan Buha of The Athletic has since corroborated the information.

DeRozan and Thompson have vastly different skill sets, but that isn't stopping Los Angeles from exploring this possible signing.

Longtime Lakers target DeMar DeRozan is back on the radar

DeRozan, who will turn 35 in August, is one of the most accomplished players in the NBA. He's a three-time All-NBA honoree and six-time All-Star with 63 games of postseason experience and 23,582 career points scored.

This past season, DeRozan averaged 24.0 points, 5.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.1 steals on .480/.333/.853 shooting in 37.8 minutes per game.

In Los Angeles, DeRozan would likely occupy the role of midrange scorer alongside Davis and a 39-year-old James. This past season, DeRozan was second in the NBA behind Kevin Durant in midrange field goals made at 235—51 more than the third-ranked player, Devin Booker.

He was also eighth in the NBA in points via drives—although he ranked outside of the top 50 in points in the paint.

It's a reflection of the way DeRozan's game has changed, as he's less likely to get all the way to the rim, but still lethal when pulling up from midrange. In saying that, he was 18th in field goals made in the non-restricted area of the paint, showing he can still get downhill.

DeRozan continues to be an underwhelming three-point shooter, but he's improved from shooting 22.7 percent between 2018-19 and 2020-21 to 33.6 percent from 2021-22 to 2023-24.

The question, of course, is how the two sides would ultimately be able to strike a deal. DeRozan is coming off of a three-year contract worth $81.9 million, and it's at least worth questioning if he'd be willing to sign for the mid-level exception.

In the event that he is, however, the Compton native, former USC star, and lifelong Kobe Bryant fan would be living out a dream in the purple and gold.