Jordan Clarkson is set to hit the restricted free agency market this coming NBA offseason. He is going to be one of the more sought after free agents on the market due to his youth and developing skill. That being said, there isn’t much of a chance that Clarkson will end up somewhere other than Los Angeles.
As the Lakers head into the offseason, they will focus on keeping their young core together. Clarkson has shown the potential to be a star at some point in the future, and will make a very dangerous duo with point guard D’Angelo Russell in the coming years.
Throughout the course of the 2015-16 NBA regular season, Clarkson showed improvement once again. He ended up averaging 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. Clarkson shot 43.3 percent from the field overall and knocked down 34.7 percent of his three-point attempts.
During a recent interview with NBC Los Angeles, Clarkson made it clear that he wants to re-sign with the Lakers.
“LA is like home for me, so I definitely want to be here. I definitely want to stay in LA but kind of have an open mind.”
Clarkson continued on, talking about his game and what he feels he needs to work on this offseason to take the next step.
“I feel like I need to get stronger for both: offensively and defensively. I played mostly (shooting guard) and (point guard) this year, so just switching between those positions and being able to guard both of those. Adding muscle and strength will be a big help to me.”
At just 24-years-old, the future is incredibly bright for Clarkson. If he does end up re-signing with the Lakers, he will be the starting shooting guard and will help take over for Kobe Bryant. That is a very tough role to take on as a young player, but he is more than ready to step up and do his best.
Luke Walton was hired to be the Lakers’ new head coach, which bodes well for Clarkson’s future. It was obvious last season when Walton was coaching the Golden State Warriors in Steve Kerr’s absence that he will coach an up-tempo style of offense. With the young players that the Lakers have on their roster, they will fit perfectly to the new offense.
There are not many shooting guards with the combination of skills and athleticism that Clarkson has that are as young as the Lakers’ up-and-coming star has.
Los Angeles is hoping to get back into postseason contention in the next couple of years. It has been quite some time since they were viewed as serious playoff contenders. Keeping as much talent as possible is the Lakers’ priority and the two sides seem to be mutually invested in getting a new deal done.
While it certainly sounds like the Lakers and Clarkson want to get a new deal done, there will be a long line of teams interested in signing him to an offer sheet. Los Angeles will have the right to match any offer sheet that Clarkson signs, but they could look to sign a bigger name that would tie up their money.
All of that being said, it will be interesting to see what the upcoming offseason holds for Clarkson and the Lakers. Expect to see him end up re-signing with the Lakers, although there could be a lot of teams rumored to have interest in him before he inks a new deal.
Do you think that the Los Angeles Lakers should make re-signing Jordan Clarkson a priority in free agency? What other teams do you think should show interest in signing Clarkson? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Photo by AP Photo/Winslow Townson]