Free agency is in full swing, and the Lakers had a few loose ends they needed to clear up to prepare themselves for the madness that begins tonight at midnight eastern. Namely: Taking care of those on their roster who were ready to hit open market.
Jordan Clarkson, Tarik Black, Marcelo Huertas and Ryan Kelly needed qualifying offers to become restricted free agents, but only three of the four received them, per Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.
The decision was an easy one on Clarkson, who the team sees as D'Angelo Russell's backcourt partner for the foreseeable future. Black and Huertas are probably tougher to make the qualifying offer to, but given how much the Lakers have to work with financially, the move makes sense. Oh, and poor Ryan Kelly.
It's hard to see Black or Huertas getting the kind of offer that would pry them from the Lakers' control, and Clarkson certainly seems destined for quite the pay raise, but the Lakers, by all indications, are okay with that. All three of these guys fall under the category of the Arenas rule provision, which makes it all the tougher to see any of them playing for a different team next season.
As far Kelly, who's endured quite a frustrating few years since showing signs of competency under Mike D'Antoni, many do believe there is a place for him in the league. Where that might be, I have no idea, but with all the spending set to take place in the coming weeks, I could see him latching on somewhere.
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