Jordan Clarkson became a free agent this summer, and this is when his loyalty to the Lakers organization really began to show. He easily could have shopped around for deals, but made it clear he wanted to come back.
Everyone knew Kobe Bryant’s final season would be more about him rather than the future of the young Lakers like Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr. While the fans and players were well aware of that, the organization still had to think of a post-Kobe team and how they would progress. Keeping Clarkson was a great first step towards that.
Training camp has yet to start for the new season, but Clarkson is already well into working on his game. For example, he has clearly been working on extending his three-point range this summer.
Clarkson is dedicated to improving and we have probably heard more from him in the offseason than any other player who wasn’t part of the Summer League team. It’s refreshing to see his dedication so soon after re-signing with the team. He’s going to be one of those guys who just keeps working on his craft no matter what time of year it is.
It’s important for the Lakers to have young guys staying loyal to their team. With Russell Westbrook getting an extension worked out with the Thunder, the Lakers may not end up trading for him this season like some had originally thought. That will give them more time to keep the young core together without trading any of them away.
With Luke Walton coming in as coach, Clarkson also seems excited about working with the new members of the coaching staff. Since Clarkson is a bit older than the rest of the young guys, I’m hoping he can be an example of the amount of dedication and loyalty the Lakers organization expect from their players.
If anything, they should have already learned that from Kobe’s last season. If you stay, the Lakers will reward you, which is exactly what they did with Clarkson’s four-year deal. I’m really looking forward to seeing him get on the court in pre-season to see how much he’s improved in game-time situations.