NBA Free Agency: Los Angeles Lakers Sign Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng, And Others

With the free agency moratorium period over, the Los Angeles Lakers officially signed Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng, Marcelo Huertas, and Ivica Zubac to contracts.

Clarkson, 24, originally agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal with Los Angeles, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical. Following a breakout season for the Lakers, averaging 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.1 steals through 79 games, Clarkson’s value skyrocketed. The University of Missouri product now becomes a long-term piece for a rebuilding Lakers squad that’s reeling after the departure of legend Kobe Bryant.

“Jordan is an important piece of our young core and re-signing him was a priority of our offseason,” general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “He has displayed a tremendous work ethic over the last two seasons, and we expect him to continue to develop. Luol is a versatile defender as well as offensively talented and is a high-character individual who will be invaluable mentoring our young players on the court and in the locker room. Ivica is a player we feel has a bright future in this league and we are excited to see him grow alongside our group of young players.”

In his first two seasons, Clarkson has been an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection in 2015 and selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star weekend last season. Over 138 games (117 starts), Clarkson has averaged 14.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.0 steals.

“We had two tough years, but I don’t want to be a guy that is afraid and will run away from challenges,” Clarkson said to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News in early June. “I want to be a part of the situation when it turns around because I was here when it was down. I never want to leave.”

Deng, 31, joins the Lakers on a four-year, $72 million deal agreed on last Saturday (via Charania/Twitter). The 12-year veteran spent last season with the Miami Heat, averaging 12.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 74 games (73 starts). The Sudan native and former seventh overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft has previously spent time with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The former two-time all-star was a popular name heading into free agency as up to six teams pursuing him. However, Deng ends up in California to be a veteran presence in a young Lakers locker room. For his career, the former Duke University product has averages of 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 823 games.

Zubac, the Lakers’ second-round pick (32nd overall) is officially a Laker. The 7-foot-1 center was one of a record-setting 26 international players taken in the 2016 NBA Draft. As noted in the press release, the 19-year-old played in the Adriatic League and FIBA Euro Cup for Cibona Zagreb last season. Zubac later joined Mega Leks, where he averaged 10.9 points and 5.1 rebounds as the team made the Serbian League semi-finals.

After a solid showing off the Lakers’ bench last year, the team has re-signed point guard Marcelo Huertas to a two-year deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the 33-year-old native of Brazil averaged 4.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 16.4 minutes per game through 53 games. As noted by Wojnarowski, Huertas will be a third-string point guard behind D’Angelo Russell and recently-acquired Jose Calderon.

Along with the Lakers’ first-round pick (second overall) Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr. and free agent signing Timofey Mozgov, the team’s roster is taking shape.

[Featured Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]