The Los Angeles Lakers have made their first moves ahead of the start of NBA free agency. The storied franchise is preparing for what will likely be an incredibly busy free agency period, and their first order of business is taking care of a few of their players from last season’s roster.
Jordan Clarkson, Marcelo Huertas, and Tarik Black have received qualifying offers from the team. Ryan Kelly, however, didn’t receive the same offer, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:
Lakers have given qualifying offers to Jordan Clarkson, Tarik Black & Marcelo Huertas making all 3 restricted, not Ryan Kelly @BBallInsiders
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 30, 2016
The Lakers giving Clarkson a qualifying offer comes as no surprise. Clarkson is in the team’s long-term plans and is expected to sign a new deal quickly once free agency gets underway on Friday.
As for Black and Huertas, it was uncertain where they stood regarding their immediate future with the Lakers. Both players showed promise during their time in Los Angeles but seem to be considered expendable. If offer sheets from teams start pouring in, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that both players could be wearing a different uniform next season. By making them restricted free agents, however, the Lakers have at least given themselves the option to match any offers.
Unfortunately for Kelly, the Duke product may have played his last game as a Laker. It seems highly unlikely he’ll return unless the Lakers are desperate to fill out the roster once the free agent pool starts to dry up late in the process.
Currently, the Lakers’ focus is on the top-tier free agents set to hit the open market on July 1. Hassan Whiteside, Al Horford, Nicolas Batum, and Chandler Parsons are among the players the team is targeting. Along with trying to land some of the best talent available, the Lakers have made it known they intend to get a new deal done with Clarkson.