The Los Angeles Lakers have extended qualifying offers to Jordan Clarkson, Tarik Black, and Marcelo Huertas. The three players will now be restricted free agents. Ryan Kelly was not extended a qualifying offer, meaning he will be an unrestricted free agent starting tonight. The moves were first reported by Eric Pincus of the LA Times and Basketball Insiders.
Most notably, Clarkson’s RFA status makes him an Arenas Rule free agent. Any team hoping to pull the guard away from Los Angeles would have to do so by offering no more than the midlevel exception the first two years of a deal, before backloading it to his full max. That means that Clarkson will almost certainly be staying with the Lakers who would shock everyone if they did not match such an offer.
Black and Huertas are more unknown players around the league and seen as replacement level role players. It would be surprising to see any team give an offer to either of the two players who both showed flashes of being important contributors last season. If they do not receive any offers, they could play this season out under the qualifying offer and become unrestricted free agents next year.
Finally, this report may point to the ending of the Kelly Clarkson era. With the Lakers making Ryan Kelly an unrestricted free agent, it would appear that the power forward has played his final season in Los Angeles. Kelly had a great rookie season under Mike D’Antoni relative to his draft status, but was unable to replicate that in the years following it.
All of this news was mostly expected and is a great primer for the craziness that will be free agency.