The Los Angeles Lakers are making strategic moves ahead of the playoffs, announcing the signing of two experienced players: Tristan Thompson, LeBron James’ former teammate from the Cleveland Cavaliers, and defensive point guard Shaquille Harrison. These signings are expected to provide much-needed depth and experience for the Lakers as they prepare for the postseason.
At 29, Shaquille Harrison is a skilled defender, last playing for the Portland Trail Blazers after his 10-day contract expired. During his brief stint with Portland, Harrison contributed 13 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals in a game against the Clippers. Prior to his time with the Trail Blazers, Harrison played for the South Bay Lakers, the NBA team’s G League affiliate.
Tristan Thompson, 32, is not only reuniting with LeBron James but also bringing valuable playoff experience to the team. Thompson has appeared in 88 playoff games throughout his career, including four consecutive Finals appearances with James and the Cavaliers from 2015-18. During their historic 2016 championship win against the Golden State Warriors, Thompson averaged 10.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 1 block per game, helping the Cavaliers secure their first-ever title.
Despite not playing this season and remaining unsigned in free agency, Thompson has been preparing for a comeback, making appearances on ESPN’s “NBA Today” while working out. Last season, he played for the Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, and Chicago Bulls, averaging 6 points and 5.1 rebounds on 52.8% shooting in 57 games.
Rumors of Thompson joining the Lakers began in March when the team held workouts with centers to address their injury concerns. On Draymond Green’s podcast, Thompson shared that James felt nostalgic about their past success together while watching him work out.
Currently occupying the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference, the Lakers (42-39) face the Utah Jazz in their regular-season finale. With a victory and favorable outcomes in other games, the Lakers could move up in the standings and potentially avoid the play-in tournament.
Both Thompson and Harrison will be available for the postseason, although it remains uncertain if they will play in the Lakers’ final regular-season game against Utah. Regardless, these strategic signings add depth and experience to the Lakers’ roster as they gear up for a strong playoff run.