The NBA trade deadline is only a few days away and the Los Angeles Lakers rumor mill is churning stronger than ever. One of the latest speculations regarding the Hollywood squad is the reported interest of the reigning Eastern Conference champions Cleveland Cavaliers on sixth man extraordinaire Jordan Clarkson.
According to FanSided’s LA Sports Hub, ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski said that the “Cavs and Lakers may be working out a deal for Clarkson,” which is something that another ESPN reporter, Brian Windhorst, said to have “confirmed” happening.
Clarkson is playing in one of his best seasons in the league so far, averaging 14.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in only 23.6 minutes per game in 51 games for the Lakers. Some basketball pundits believe that he could be nominated for the Sixth Man of the Year award at the end of the season because of his consistent remarkable performances off the bench for Luke Walton.
Clarkson’s steady production has only made his trade value rise as he was linked to several teams, including the Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, and San Antonio Spurs, in the past few weeks.
The 25-year-old combo guard has actually been in trade rumors since the beginning of the season ever since news broke out that the Lakers are planning to clear as much cap space as possible in preparation for the upcoming free agency period this summer. Clarkson’s current deal is set to have a cap hit of $12.5 million next season before it becomes $13.4 million in 2019-2020.
The Cavaliers are still a team in search of some sense of direction after suffering another blowout loss, this time to the Houston Rockets in a 120-88 home defeat on Saturday night.
Cleveland recently tried to trade for Sacramento Kings point guard George Hill in order to improve their backcourt, but things have reportedly stalled. Some analysts think that Clarkson would be a great alternative to Hill should the deal with the Kings fall through.
With that, Hashtag Basketball suggested a potential trade between the Cavs and Lakers that would send Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., and Corey Brewer to Cleveland in exchange for Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Jeff Green, and the Cavaliers’ 2018 first-round draft pick (not the Nets’ pick).
The blog noted that Clarkson and Nance are “two solid young players that can both help them (the Cavs) out immediately and down the line.” Brewer is another veteran wing defender that could help fix some of Cleveland’s current defensive issues.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are set to earn two expiring contracts in Frye and Green. Shumpert has a similar salary with Clarkson, but he has a player option at the end of the season. The most valuable part of the deal for the Lakers is the 2018 first-rounder because the team presently does not own any first-round pick this June as a result of the Steve Nash trade in 2012.