The Los Angeles Lakers are less than a month away from the NBA Draft, ramping up workouts with prospects as they barrel toward the big day on June 22. The Lakers’ future is looking brighter than ever as they’re set to add another lottery talent to their core.
The new front office, led by general manager Rob Pelinka and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, still has plenty of work ahead. Considering the best pick available at No. 2 is likely either Lonzo Ball or De’Aaron Fox, they may soon have a bit of roster imbalance to consider.
That could be one of the reasons the team is “increasingly open-minded” to trading Jordan Clarkson, possibly by draft night, according to Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. Whether that’s just smoke in the offseason sky without any fire burning is unclear, but it’s not a surprising rumor to hear as the Lakers inch closer to draft night.
Jordan Clarkson is an interesting piece for LA to dangle in trade discussions. The soon-to-be 25-year-old guard has three years and $37.5 million left on his recently-inked contract, a very reasonable contract as the cap balloons upward.
His talent, potential, age and contract make him a valuable trade asset for the Lakers. Clarkson won’t net LA a star on his own, but if they do draft Fox of Ball, trading Jordan might be a sensible move for the Lakers if the right deal presents itself.
Here’s what “someone in the know” told Hamilton, via Basketball Insiders:
I’ve been told by someone in the know that the Lakers are “increasingly open-minded” about trading Jordan Clarkson and to not be surprised for him to end up being moved as soon as draft night. That’s conjecture at this point, as the Lakers need not rush to clear what may appear to be a logjam in the making.
Offseason rumors come and go, but logically speaking, this makes plenty of sense from the Lakers’ side of the equation. Clarkson has been steadily developing for LA and was the only player to appear in all 82 games last season. He started in just 19 of those games, though, with head coach Luke Walton waiting until late in the season to experiment with starting him alongside D’Angelo Russell.
Results seemed mixed at best, and the Lakers could make a move to focus their efforts on developing the No. 2 pick along with Russell in the backcourt, needing to allocate some of their talent elsewhere on the roster. Perhaps they could also use Clarkson as a way to package either of the massive Luol Deng or Timofey Mozgov contracts that were inherited from the previous regime.
The Lakers should absolutely consider all of their options with all of their players, and while Clarkson represents the start of the youth movement in many ways, he could be the odd man out while they prepare for a new era with another No. 2 pick in their pocket.
The trade market on Clarkson is definitely something to keep an eye on this offseason, with or without a loose rumor to guide us there.