We expected free agency to be chaotic, but this year seems to have redefined our understanding of the term, with the Los Angeles Lakers reaching out to a variety of targets the moment the gong sounded on the opening of free agency. Courtesy of Drew, we have become acquainted with the Lakers' interest in Chris Copeland and Carlos Delfino, both options to buffet the Lakers' wing rotation, a clear area of need in the off-season. We would be remiss to ignore the in-house option of Earl Clark that are also hitting free agency as well, however, as the Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina noted today:
The Lakers also expressed interest in resigning surprise reserve Earl Clark shortly after the free agency period began at 9 p.m. PST on Sunday night, a conversation Clark’s agent said "went well" and that they plan to resume talks on Monday. Still, the Lakers’ interest in Clark will hinge on what he attracts in the open market.
Clark, who made $1.2 million last season, received interest in "two or three teams," including the Lakers, said Bradbury. He said he hasn’t determined yet whether he’s seeking a multi-year deal or a one-year deal since it depends on what offers he receives. But the Lakers wouldn’t want to go beyond one year since they want to maximize cap flexibility for the 2014 offseason when a flurry of high-priced players will become free agents, including LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, John Wall and Paul George, among others.
Clark quickly went from a throw-in in the Dwight Howard trade to a critical part of the rotation after injuries to Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, having a series of excellent games rebounding and shooting the ball before falling back down to earth as the season progressed. Although his end of the year statistics were fairly mediocre, the promise he displayed, especially as a versatile defender who could cover multiple positions, no doubt will entice the Lakers to attempt to keep him in town as he continues to develop.
The issue is ultimately price, as Medina indicates, seeing that the Lakers are well above the luxury tax line and any extra money they spend on Clark will be accordingly magnified. Medina did report back in April that Clark wanted to return to the Lakers even if was at a below market price, and the Lakers would no doubt love to see that scenario play out given their limited resources in free agency.
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