Lyle Thompson is arguably one of the best players in the world. From the moment he joined the PLL, he was an MVP favorite and the clear cut choice for the first pick in the entry draft. While Lyle has been one of the top scorers in the league, he hasn’t been the Lyle Thompson we are used to seeing. Pair that with the struggles the Cannons have had so far this season and the lack of future picks to correct their deficiencies, it might be in the teams, and Lyle’s best interest to trade the superstar and look towards the future.
Currently the Cannons have a 1-4 record so far through five games, and in those five games they currently have the third worst scoring offense and the worst scoring defense in the league. Thompson currently accounts for 32% of the Cannons total offense. Even with his dominant play, Lyle Thompson has “struggled” hasn’t been his true self since transitioning from the MLL to the PLL. He has dealt with injuries in 2021 and 2022 seasons and it definitely played a role in his effectiveness. In an interview with Casey Powell, he mentioned he was dealing with a groin injury all of last season
“I pulled my groin… it was a huge setback…I could only run to one side, I had to use picks a lot, this year I feel like I can be me again”.
– Lyle Thompson, Cannons Attackman
Even through the injury, Lyle still had 32 points, which was tied for second in the PLL. This interview happened before the 2022 season began, and he has already had to miss a game due to injury and has been on the injury report other weeks as well.
It’s not just the injuries though, the losing definitely has been hard on Lyle as well. Even though the Cannons made the playoffs last year, the team still finished 3-6 during the regular season. After making the playoffs his final three years in the MLL (including a championship in 2019 with the Chesapeake Bayhawks), Lyle had high expectations for himself and his teammates last season.
“I struggled with [playing pissed off] during the PLL season…it was a tough season for me…I’m not playing how I should be playing, there was a part of me that felt like I wasn’t performing…combined with actually losing a lot of lacrosse games… [it] left room for doubt, and anger”
– Lyle Thompson, Cannons Attackman
Thompson holds himself to a high standard and with his drive to win, the Cannons might not be his best opportunity for him at this point in his career.
The Cannons, if they decided to trade Lyle, would instantly have offers from the other seven PLL teams. They would be able to benefit from an all out bidding war and would be able to secure multiple draft picks and possibly more, which would allow them to build a strong defense through the draft and accelerate a rebuild to make the team more competitive in a year or two. It might be a tough pill to swallow, trading the best player in the world after only two seasons, but if the trade package is tantalizing enough, the Cannons might not be able to pass it up.
Trading Lyle Thompson might end up being a good thing for the league too. Having one of the top players play on a more competitive team would be great for the on-field product. Imagine Lyle Thompson on the Redwoods with Myles Jones? Or Chrome who have surprised the league so far this season, adding Thompson alongside their youth on offense? Imagine the Whipsnakes adding Lyle alongside two former PLL MVPs in Matt Rambo and Zed Williams? Thompson playing on a more competitive team and potentially playing longer into the postseason, would be better for the league and also satisfy Thompson’s hunger to win.
It may not seem like a smart idea to trade Thompson, especially with the Cannons fighting for the final playoff spot, but it just might be what is best for the club long term. The Cannons definitely need more talent on their roster, and with few picks in the draft, their best opportunity to get better, might be to trade their best player. If the Cannons decided to trade Lyle Thompson, it would be a win-win situation for both Thompson and the team.