Compared to some of his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates, Jordan Clarkson has not been mentioned in too many trade rumors amid the team’s continued struggles in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. However, a new report suggests the Cavs might consider moving him before the February trade deadline, provided the team could get something substantial in return for the 26-year-old guard.
As cited by Cavaliers Nation, Joe Vardon of The Athletic analyzed Clarkson’s performance since moving to Cleveland midway through the 2017-18 NBA season and determining whether he could draw the attention of playoff contenders in his current campaign. According to Vardon, one particular area of concern is the fact that Clarkson did not have any experience playing for a winning team before joining the LeBron James-led Cavs that made the NBA Finals earlier this year, but ended up losing to the Golden State Warriors in four games.
In his report, Vardon pointed out how Jordan Clarkson “struggled mightily” in the 2018 playoffs, where he averaged only 4.7 points and shot 30 percent from the field and 24 percent from beyond the three-point line. After explaining that Clarkson has often talked about how he had a hard time dealing with the pressure of playing in the postseason, Vardon predicted the possibility of a playoff contender trading for him before the February deadline, which would be his only chance of playing in the postseason for the second year in a row.
“Clarkson’s not going to get another chance in the playoffs this season unless a contender comes calling with a trade offer. Clarkson isn’t angling to be moved, but the right offer would probably pry him from Cleveland.”
Rough night for Cavs’ bodies, interior defense, and place in the standings https://t.co/ZdfckJnOgE— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) December 22, 2018
With the Cavaliers tied for last place in the Eastern Conference with an 8-25 record, Clarkson has “[made] the most out of bad situation,” Vardon added. Per Basketball-Reference, the combo guard is averaging a career-best 16.9 points per game despite never having started this season for the Cavs, and also has averages of 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
After playing his first three-and-a-half seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers, Clarkson was acquired by Cleveland right before the February 2018 trade deadline, in a deal that also sent young big man Larry Nance Jr. to the Cavaliers and veterans Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Lakers.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have kept busy and started making changes to their lineup as they continue to deal with the prospect of rebuilding in the aftermath of LeBron James’ move to the Lakers. Reports have also suggested that more changes might be afoot as the 2018-19 season progress. In an article from earlier this month that analyzed Cleveland’s decision to trade onetime starting point guard George Hill to the Milwaukee Bucks, Yahoo Sports‘ Keith Smith wrote that there’s a chance the Cavs might end up trading either Kevin Love or Tristan Thompson, provided they can find a way to free up their salaries in exchange for younger players or draft picks.