L.A. Lakers rumors have one free agent speaking well of the decision to hire Luke Walton as the next Lakers coach. That free agent is Jordan Clarkson, who has made several comments alluding to the fact that he would like to re-sign with the Lakers during the NBA offseason. A report from ESPN quoted Clarkson at length, as the guard touched on the signing of Walton as the new head coach and the direction that the franchise is undertaking.
“It really impacts it a lot. That style of play fits me, as well as the other guys. I definitely want to stay here in L.A. and be here. I said in my exit interview, I don’t want to be that guy who bounces around from team to team. I want to be here in L.A. — a place where I can call home — and leave a legacy. The hiring makes it even better.”
Many L.A. Lakers rumors have dealt with potential NBA free agents like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard this summer. This is the first tangible story about Clarkson, though, and he could be an extremely important component of the offseason plan for the Lakers. After earning less than a million dollars for the 2015-16 NBA season, Clarkson has become an unrestricted free agent. This means that he can sign with any team as soon as free agency opens in July.
Starting 79 games at shooting guard, Jordan Clarkson averaged 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game during the 2015-16 NBA season. He averaged 32.3 minutes per night, shooting 43.3 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from three-point range, and 80.4 percent from the free throw line. At still 23 years old, Clarkson can provide energy and youth to any team that offers him a big contract. One of those teams might just be the Los Angeles Lakers.
Luke Walton is going to bring an up-tempo coaching style to the L.A. Lakers next season, and that could be very beneficial for players that like to run the court. Clarkson could fit into that scheme very nicely, and judging by the comments he has made to the media, he is well aware of what that could mean for his career. Bumping his averages up to more than 20 points and two steals per game could mean that a contract further down the road comes with even more dollars attached to it. So it’s possible he might sign for less money to stay in town in the short-term.
There haven’t been any recent (tangible) L.A. Lakers rumors about what the team is going to offer Clarkson in free agency, but the team certainly has the money to afford it. Heading into the 2016-17 NBA season, the Lakers currently have only about $23.2 million in guaranteed salaries. That also includes Nick Young (at about $5.5 million) and Louis Williams (at $7 million), who could be potential trade candidates. The Lakers may have plans to offer max contracts to other free agents with that money, but it could come at the cost of losing Clarkson to another franchise.
Without Kobe Bryant on the court, Jordan Clarkson could see many additional shot opportunities during the 2016-17 NBA season. Adding a top 3 pick to a roster that also includes Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell could make the Lakers a very exciting team to watch. What it will all come down to, though, is whether or not some of the big free agents want to come to Los Angeles this offseason. There are going to be quite a few L.A. Lakers rumors as the NBA offseason gets started in late June, but some good news for fans is that it appears Clarkson wants to stay in town.
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