Trade talks are starting to pick up with the NBA trade deadline just a month away, and in the thick of several of those conversations will be the Los Angeles Lakers, who are expected to aggressively try and clear space for one or two star free agents this upcoming summer.
The Lakers, namely Magic Johnson, have made their intentions clear since before the season tipped off in late-September. Perhaps a little bit too clear, as their ambitious claims reportedly caused problems in the Lakers’ locker room, to the point where the team had to have an “air it out” meeting. You know, like all teams do in the middle of the season!
It’s clear players don’t feel confident about their future with the team, and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, they have every right to feel that way, especially for three young players.
In his latest for ESPN, Wojnarowski says the Lakers have “made it clear that Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance are available,” even saying there is ”mutual desire” between Clarkson and the front office to get a deal done before the end of the season.
Wojnarowski also reiterates past reports that the Lakers have given up on trading Luol Deng, as it would likely cost young players, draft pick or some combination of both.
It’s understandable why Clarkson would want a trade sooner rather than later. Clarkson has never played postseason basketball, and with his 26th birthday coming up this summer, he might want to spend his prime years on a playoff contender.
The challenge now is finding a team willing to take on the final two years of his four-year, $50 million deal, but he’s shown growth as a legitimate scoring guard off the bench.
Clarkson and Randle are the Lakers’ longest tenured players, followed by Larry Nance Jr. and Ivica Zubac. With the front office hungry for cap space, it wouldn’t be surprising to see all four on a different team come next season.