The Los Angeles Lakers have always been in the center of trade rumors year-after-year, and this season is no exception. With less than a month away before the NBA’s trade deadline, one Laker player has been mentioned a few times more than his other teammates, and he is combo guard Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson, 25, is on his fourth season in the league, all played with the Lakers, and has become one of the most reliable substitute players this season. He is currently averaging 13.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 22.9 minutes per game as the Lakers’ offensive spark plug coming off the bench.
There are even times when head coach Luke Walton would leave Clarkson on the floor during crunch time because of his ability to score and make plays on the offensive end. It has led some analysts to believe that he could be a top candidate for this season’s Sixth Man of the Year award.
However, Clarkson’s heroics have also made him one of the Lakers’ top trade assets along with teammate Julius Randle, who is also having a great season so far.
Clarkson has actually been on the Hollywood squad’s trading block since the beginning of the season after Lakers president Magic Johnson said that they are planning to “preserve cap space for 2018 free agents,” as per a report by Lakers Outsiders last summer.
According to recent trade rumors, an emerging possible destination for Clarkson is the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons (22-19) continue to battle for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite missing their starting point guard Reggie Jackson since last month due to a right ankle injury. Jackson had also missed the first 21 games of the season after receiving separate PRP injections on his left knee to heal a recurring knee tendinosis and on his right thumb to treat a UCL sprain.
With Jackson’s unavailability, Detroit has been relying on the backcourt tandem of Ish Smith and Langston Galloway. The two were able to fill in well for Jackson, but some basketball pundits believe that an upgrade at the point is needed for the Pistons to sustain their attempt for a playoff run.
SB Nation’s Silver Screen & Roll blog suggested three possible trades involving Clarkson and one of them is a deal between the Lakers and Pistons. The blog said that Detroit could offer wingmen Avery Bradley and Stanley Johnson to the Lakers in exchange for Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
The report said that Clarkson “would be an immediate upgrade over Smith and Galloway” and could also “start alongside Jackson at shooting guard” as soon as the former Boston College standout returns.
Bradley’s expiring contract would be tempting for the Lakers as the team is trying to clear off as much salary cap space as they can before the offseason. Meanwhile, Johnson is known as a decent wing defender, which is something the Lakers are said to be looking for at this time.