Jordan Clarkson was relegated to the Lakers bench in his third season in Los Angeles. Clarkson had no problems coming off the bench since he still averaged double digits in points despite the decrease in playing time. The Lakers are under new management, and it seems they have put Clarkson on the trading block. One of the potential destinations for the 25-year-old guard is the Utah Jazz.
According to Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders, the Lakers are open to trading Jordan Clarkson this summer and might put him on the block very soon. This is despite Clarkson signing a long-term extension last offseason and being one of the core players of the Lakers along with D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance Jr.
Trading Jordan Clarkson makes sense for the Lakers and its new front office headed by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. The Lakers are expected to select UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Having Ball and Russell as the starting backcourt has a lot of potential, and it might be too much to pay someone like Clarkson $12.5 million for the next three seasons just to come off the bench.
Of course, the Lakers are also linked to a potential trade of Russell, who has hinted that he is not in favor of having Ball as a teammate. Russell has more value than Clarkson, and it would be smarter to test out the Ball-Russell tandem first before trading the latter. Clarkson is a very good player, and he could be a starting shooting guard in the league.
Benjamin Mehic of the Deseret News believes that Jordan Clarkson will be a good addition for the Utah Jazz this summer. Mehic noted that big man Derrick Favors, who is entering the final season of his contract next season, is not part of the future plans of the Jazz. Favors is eligible to sign an extension this summer, but it appears Utah is not interested in giving him that.
“The Jazz could theoretically send Favors and his expiring deal to the Lakers with one of their picks for Clarkson, as their salaries match and would fit into the league’s guidelines for acceptable deals. In return, the Jazz would get a scoring guard under contract until 2020 and the Lakers would get a productive big man in Favors and an additional draft pick.”
Favors has been plagued by injuries in the past couple of seasons, but he is still a solid big man who can score and grab rebounds. He is no longer a starter-caliber player, but he would be a serviceable role player for a team like the Lakers. On the other hand, the Jazz get a scoring guard on a long-term deal, making Rodney Hood expendable.
The Jazz are in a tight spot since they have to give out big contracts to players like Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, George Hill, and Dante Exum. They have to make good decisions, and adding Jordan Clarkson seems to be one of them. Clarkson can also play small forward just in case Hayward bolts to Boston this summer.
However, it should be noted that these are just purely speculative at the moment and nothing has been confirmed. Trade rumors are part of the NBA, and more speculations will come in two weeks at draft night. Jordan Clarkson is one of the best young players in the league, and there are going to be some teams interested in him if he is really available. Clarkson has been linked to teams such as the Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Hornets.
Jordan Clarkson was drafted 46th overall by the Washington Wizards before he was traded on the same night for cash considerations. Clarkson was named to the All-Rookie First Team in 2015, and he had his career season last year. He averaged 14.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.1 steals while shooting 44.5 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from the three-point area.
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