The Los Angeles Lakers are still eyeing max free agents in 2018 and the latest reports are that they are willing to deal Jordan Clarkson to make it happen.
The Lakers have been clear about their desire to sign not one, but two max free agents in 2018. Everything Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have done so far has been making room for that scenario. However, the moves they’ve made so far may not be enough to get the job done.
L.A. was able to trade away Timofey Mozgov and the remaining three years, $48 million left on his contract, but hey still have Luol Deng on the books. While The Lakers will find it hard to move Deng, Jordan Clarkson is an asset they could use to create more cap space.
Clarkson signed a contract before last season worth $50 million over four years which creates a cap hit of $11 million per year for the Lakers. If Clarkson were to be traded, L.A. would create enough cap room to have $59.4 million to spend next year.
One person within the organization who isn’t permitted to speak publicly on the subject told Bleacher Report the team is confident it can move Clarkson if needed to open space.
Although L.A. is short on guards, Clarkson is the most movable piece they have left. He’s a proven NBA talent that can score but not a player with a high enough ceiling to be untouchable. He, in fact, may be the only player the Lakers would willingly package in a trade to get rid of Deng considering the rest of their talent are promising prospects and Julius Randle, who looks to be headed for a breakout year.
That makes Clarkson L.A.’s next and most likely expendable piece to continue their rebuild. The better the season he has, the more trade value he’ll bring the Lakers. Chances are, however, there won’t be a scenario where he performs well enough to stay on their roster in 2018.