After talks with the Sacramento Kings for George Hill fell apart, the Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly set their sights on the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson in an effort to bolster their depth at both guard positions, according to reports.
During an ESPN broadcast, Adrian Wojnarowski said the Cavs have talked to the Lakers about Clarkson (H/T Justin Russo). This echoes what ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported last week, saying the two sides have “had conversations.”
While Clarkson would be an interesting fit with the Cavs, who are struggling to get consistent production from their guard rotation, it’s unclear what a package would look like for Clarkson.
The Lakers will be looking for cap relief, and Cleveland can’t offer them much on that front with the exception of a handful of players, including Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye, who Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue reportedly didn’t want to include in a package for Hill earlier this month.
A straight swap for Clarkson and Shumpert works, but Shumpert has a player option this summer he’s almost guaranteed to pick up, barring an All-Star caliber performance in the final quarter of the season. Even then, I’d bet on him picking his player option up, worth $11.01 million. That doesn’t fit into the Lakers’ plans for free agency.
However, if the Cavs were willing to include their own first-round pick, which is projected to land in the mid-20s, the Lakers might be more open to dealing Clarkson while taking salary back.
Clarkson is averaging 14.6 points, 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game while seeing just 23.6 minutes per contest. Clarkson is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 14 points in less than 24 minutes per game, according to stats.nba.com.
The Cavaliers will have until Feb. 8 to search the market for a servicable guard. But if they strike out on more appealing options like Hill or Kemba Walker, two players they’ve been linked to, Clarkson would be a fine consolation prize given the right package.