9 Teams That Could Steal Jordan Clarkson From Lakers
The 2016 NBA Finals are three games deep and after Friday comes and goes, it’s possible we’ll be just one more Golden State Warriors win from the NBA off-season.
Then comes the 2016 NBA Draft, summer league and all of that insane free agency talk. Kevin Durant rules the summer, that’s a given, but there are several interesting talents that could be key pieces to new rebuilds.
Jordan Clarkson is one guy that several teams are eyeing as we draw closer to the 2016 NBA free agency period. The talented combo guard has displayed an ability to get to the rim, create for others and hit the outside shot, potentially setting him up for a big pay day and depending on where he winds up, a huge role with the room to grow into an even better player.
The 24-year old Missouri product has made major strides in his first two seasons in the league, but where can we expect him to suit up for the 2015-16 NBA season? Let’s go over his top likely destinations and come away with a final prediction:
With Mike Conley free to leave in free agency, the Grizzlies could quickly be scrambling for answers at the point guard position. This is a bad spot to be in for a team that is used to being in the playoff picture, and aside from some bad injury luck a year ago, was still one of the better Western Conference teams.
If Conley indeed leaves for greener pastures, perhaps Memphis tries to get better and build for the future at the same time by stealing Clarkson from the Lakers.
Deron Williams is set to explore a bit in free agency and neither J.J. Barea or Devin Harris are long-term answers, so the Mavs are certainly a team that needs to start thinking about the future when it comes to the point guard position.
Owner Mark Cuban has been trying to build an improved supporting cast around an aging Dirk Nowitzki and he also aims to get younger and more athletic. Clarksons could be part of that youth movement, yet he’d be an upgrade over what they had a year ago.
New head coach Mike D’Antoni has given high praise to current starting point guard Patrick Beverley, but he lacks offensive prowess and D’Antoni will need to be on the hunt for “his guy” to run his system.
Clarkson could be a total gem in this offense, while he and James Harden could be pretty interchangeable at the one and the two.
Ish Smith is another point guard possibly looking for a new home this summer, so that could have the Sixers looking for help at the lead guard spot.
They’ve had talks involving a trade for Jeff Teague, but they could try signing Clarkson, who is much younger and has untapped upside.
The Kings are done with Rajon Rondo, don’t seem to be total believers in Darren Collison and probably shouldn’t bet the farm on a still developing Seth Curry.
That could prompt them to pay some cash toward a more reliable option, or one that boasts interesting upside. Stealing a quality talent from a rival wouldn’t hurt, either.
Indiana does have George Hill and could always bring Ty Lawson back, but they both have their short-comings and the Pacers seem yet again to be interested in beefing up the point guard position.
Clarkson gives them youth, versatility and upside. Figuring out the money and keeping the Lakers from matching their offer will be the tough part.
New York Knicks
The Knicks are one of the first vocal teams in regards to Clarkson, as reports have already emerged that they have their eye on the Lakers combo guard.
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) June 9, 2016
Jose Calderon is done and there’s no telling if Tony Wroten or Jerian Grant can be the answer. Clarkson has already proven he can ball and could give the Knicks a nice fresh start at the position.
Jarrett Jack shredded his knee up last year and probably wasn’t the long-term answer at the point anyways, so the Nets understandably need to think long and hard about what they want to do at the position.
Shane Larkin and Donald Sloan are all they have otherwise, so the Nets should be looking for outside help. Clarkson would give them an immediate upgrade, while he also has the ability to start and be effective as a two guard.
Utah needs more scoring and outside shooting in general, but they continue to have serious question marks at the point guard position, as well.
Shelvin Mack doesn’t seem like the long-term answer, Utah seems to be distancing themselves from Trey Burke and Dante Exum has a long ways to go even when he gets back from last year’s knee injury.
Utah undoubtedly should be considering all of their options at one of the most important positions, and Clarkson could be a viable option as they look to the future at the position.
Jordan Clarkson Prediction
The news is good for Lakers fans, as Clarkson isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He’s shown a remarkable work ethic, has remained loyal and when he heard of the Luke Walton hire, he “ran around his house” in celebration.
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) May 31, 2016
He has to wonder what it’d be like earning big money as a starting point guard elsewhere, but he is a highly skilled and athletic player that could end up being huge for the Lakers at the two spot.
Clarkson is a restricted free agent, which means L.A. should be able to match any offer he gets if they so choose, and new head coach Luke Walton has been very clear that he likes Clarkson and has big plans for him. With Kobe Bryant retired, Clarkson can step into an even bigger role and join D’Angelo Russell to team up for one of the more talented young back courts in the league.
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