The Los Angeles Lakers are hanging on for dear life for a play-in tournament spot in the Western Conference standings, but could add former Boston Celtics big man Tristan Thompson to their mix before the end of the season.
Thompson, who played last season with the Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls, is being auditioned by the Lakers this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania, who reported the news Monday afternoon, also mentioned that Tony Bradley will attend a workout with Los Angeles.
Thompson, 32, isn’t unfamiliar with playing alongside Lakers star LeBron James. The two hoisted an NBA Finals trophy as members of the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2016, overcoming a 3-1 deficit to defeat the dynastic Golden State Warriors.
Now, circumstances have unfolded a lot differently since Thompson and James went their separate ways. Thompson averaged six points and 5.1 rebounds during his 57-game campaign in 2021-22, which marked his lowest averages in both categories in four previous years. He made his last NBA appearance during last year’s playoffs as the Bulls were eliminated in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Meanwhile, James has struggled to keep Los Angeles’ boat afloat out West.
The Lakers, as of Monday, sit 35-37, which places them in a tied for the No. 9 seed in the West. Yet, that also sits them just three games behind the No. 5-seeded Los Angeles Clippers, meaning that the Lakers are just a red-hot final stretch run away from securing a last-minute playoff spot. But, as has been the case all season, the Lakers have struggled to navigate through key injuries.
Anthony Davis has missed 31 games, plagued with a lingering foot injury that’s setback the better part of his Lakers tenure for the past three seasons. Then James went down, also with a foot injury. He’s expected to return by the end of the year but has remained sidelined since Feb. 28.