The Los Angeles Lakers may have two of the top players in the NBA in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and they may have one of the league’s better young forwards in Kyle Kuzma. Beyond those three, however, the team’s lack of depth has often been questioned, with some even predicting that the Lakers might be among the NBA’s most disappointing teams in the 2019-20 season due to how thin they are at certain positions.
Due to the NBA’s rules on trading future draft picks and trading recent free-agent signees, the Lakers’ trade options appear especially limited at the moment. However, as Fansided’s Los Angeles Sports Hub reported on Thursday, there’s a good chance the Lakers will be active between December 15 — the earliest date for teams to trade newly-signed free agents — and the February trade deadline. The publication listed five players whom the team could target in the midseason, and one of these players happens to be someone who donned the purple and gold before he was shipped to the Cleveland Cavaliers midway through the 2017-18 campaign — combo guard Jordan Clarkson.
As explained by Los Angeles Sports Hub, Clarkson is currently entering the last year of his contract and is likely to be “prime trade bait” for the Cavs ahead of the trade deadline. With that in mind, the outlet suggested that the Lakers could trade for him and give up a future second-round pick — which could still be “good” for a rebuilding team like Cleveland — and some other assets.
“The Lakers would have to include multiple contracts to get this deal to work and could maybe send Rajon Rondo, Jared Dudley and Talen Horton-Tucker as the package if the Rondo experiment does not work and they need a scoring guard, which Clarkson is,” wrote L.A. Sports Hub’s Jason Reed.
In his first full season for the Cavaliers, Clarkson was exclusively used off the bench but still averaged 16 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 27.3 minutes per game for a 2018-19 Cleveland team that finished with a 19-63 record, per Basketball-Reference. He also shot 44.8 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from three-point range in 81 games last season.
Interestingly, Clarkson was the only backcourt player listed among Los Angeles Sports Hub’s five suggested midseason acquisitions for the Lakers. The outlet also recommended big men Miles Plumlee (Atlanta Hawks), Aron Baynes (Phoenix Suns), and Derrick Favors (New Orleans Pelicans) as well as forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Hornets) as potential sources of depth if the Lakers need to make some changes to their roster before the coming trade deadline.