Now that Kobe Bryant has retired, the Los Angeles Lakers are the subject of NBA trade rumors as they look to move forward in an effort to recreate their former greatness.
According to Sportsrageous, the Lakers are talking to the Philadelphia 76ers about a possible deal involving Jahlil Okafor and Jordan Clarkson. If in fact a trade such as this is being discussed, it would appear to make sense for one side, but not so much for the other.
It is understandable why the Philadelphia 76ers would be interested in swapping Okafor for Clarkson. The Sixers have three talented centers (Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Okafor) and with a major shortage of talent at other positions, the team is actively looking to move one of their big men, as reported by CBS Philly.
Clarkson can play both guard positions, is coming off a very good second season in the NBA, and was just signed to a new four-year contract by the Lakers. Sometimes teams see a long-term contract as a detriment, but in the case of the 76ers, they would likely see it as a plus. Philadelphia is building for the future and would want Clarkson around for the long run if they made a move for him.
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When NBA trade rumors are circulated, most of the time they are based on (at minimum) a grain of truth, and they often appear to benefit both teams involved. In the case of Okafor-for-Clarkson, this simply doesn’t add up for Los Angeles.
When the Lakers gave Jordan Clarkson a $50 million contract in July, there was no indication that they did so with the intent of trading him. Typically, if a team does a sign-and-trade with another club, those transactions happen together — not a month apart.
Also, the Lakers just gave center Timofey Mozgov a four-year, $64 million free agent deal in early July. Regardless of the negative reaction that signing has generated, Los Angeles is clearly counting on Mozgov to be their starting center and play a significant role with the team.
Jahlil Okafor, for all his talent, is also a center. However, even if Okafor and Mozgov could be played together (which is highly unlikely), that would signal that the Lakers are already giving up on Julius Randle. After Randle stepped up and had a solid second year in Los Angeles, that idea just doesn’t hold water.
Despite the fact that big, plodding centers are not in fashion in the NBA these days, Jahlil Okafor is still a talented and productive player. He was chosen No. 3 overall by the 76ers in the 2015 NBA Draft. Okafor was thrust into a leading role on the team right away, and he came through. He averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a rookie, and looks to have a bright future with his strong offensive skill set in the paint.
Jordan Clarkson is one of the NBA’s second-round success stories. He was drafted 46th overall by the Washington Wizards in 2014, but was dealt to the Lakers for cash before ever playing a game for Washington. Clarkson spent much of his first season bouncing back and forth between the Lakers and the D-League, but played well when he got playing time in Los Angeles. By his second year, he was the team’s starting shooting guard and began to establish himself as a mainstay for the Lakers (he averaged 15.5 points per contest in 2015-16).
In the NBA, trade rumors surface all the time, with varying degrees of accuracy. This particular scenario would seem to help the Sixers, but would not be a logical move for the Lakers. What do you think about a potential Jahlil Okafor-Jordan Clarkson deal?
[Photo by Chris Szagola/AP Images]