The Los Angeles Lakers made a savvy move when they bought the 46th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft from the Washington Wizards and used it to select Missouri guard Jordan Clarkson. After a breakout first season in which he landed on the All-Rookie First Team, Clarkson appeared to be a major piece of the Lakers efforts to rebuild their franchise.
Now, after three seasons of solid play, it appears that they are seriously considering parting ways with the athletic guard. Piggybacking on a story from Wednesday about the Lakers being “open-minded” to trading Clarkson, Jordan Schultz of the Huffington Post has reported that they are now actively seeking out offers:
Per a source, #Lakers are not just "open-minded" to trading Jordan Clarkson, as has been reported, but are actively seeking out offers.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) June 1, 2017
The question, of course, is what the Lakers could get in return for Clarkson. He has bounced between several different roles during his three years in Los Angeles, from point guard to shooting guard to sixth man and then back to point guard to finish last season. That kind of versatility can be desirable, and at just 24 there is still room for upside. Clarkson’s contract pays him just over $37 million over the next three years, which isn’t bad by modern standards, but some teams may also prefer to keep their cap space free.
In fact, cap space could be what the Lakers are looking for in a Clarkson deal. President of basketball operations Magic Johnson has stated that the Lakers hope to be major players on the free agent market in 2018, and in order to do that they would need to shed some salary. Additionally, with the Lakers likely selecting a guard in the 2017 NBA draft, Clarkson may be the easiest piece to move on the roster.
While we don’t know for sure whether or not a deal will get done, this is definitely a story to keep an eye on. Johnson already made a decisive move a few months ago when he traded Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets. Another deal could be on the way.