Showtime Laker: If LBJ stays, Cavs-Dubs could rival Lakers-Celtics

Cavs-Warriors could become akin to the rivalry between Larry Bird (left) and Boston and Magic Johnson and LA, Mychal Thompson says.

Mychal Thompson has a unique perspective when it comes to rivalries and their place in NBA history.

After all, as a member of the Showtime Lakers with whom he played the last five seasons of his career, he took part in four NBA Finals.

Thompson and the Lakers won back-to-back championships in 1986-87 and 1987-88, beating Boston (4-2) and Detroit (4-3), then bowed in The Finals in 1989-90 and 1990-91, falling to Detroit (a sweep) and Michael Jordan and Chicago (4-1).

Though Thompson & Co. only played Boston once in The Finals during his time with the Lakers, that matchup, along with their annual twice-a-year regular-season grudge matches, only helped to cement the rivalry between the Lakers and the Celtics the best in NBA history.

Los Angeles and Boston played for the NBA title 12 times in a 51-season span, an average of almost once every four years over the course of a half-century period.

Now, as father of Warriors standout guard Klay Thompson, he has witnessed Golden State’s triumvirate of Finals matchups against the Cleveland Cavaliers firsthand. The Warriors (35-9) will play the Cavaliers (26-16) for a second time this season Monday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

The former University of Minnesota standout, a veteran of 15 NBA seasons as a player, says he could see the clashes between the Cavaliers and the Warriors continuing for another half-decade.

However, he added a huge quantifier, one those who follow the Cavaliers are all too aware as it keeps them awake at night — LeBron James.

“There’s a chance this could go for another five years,” Thompson said. “But we don’t know what LeBron’s going to do.”

Thompson, obviously, was referencing James all but assuredly declining his player option that calls for him to be paid $35,607, 968 in the 2018-19 season this summer and becoming an unrestricted free agent.

“That’s up to LeBron after this season,” Thompson said. “If he stays, this could develop into another Lakers-Celtics rivalry.

“But if LeBron leaves, it’s over.”