The Los Angeles Lakers finally broke their nine-game losing streak on Sunday against the Hawks due in part to contributions from Jordan Clarkson off the bench. But the potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate’s efforts may not be enough to keep in LA past the February trade deadline.
It’s no secret that the Lakers are aiming to create as much free cap space as possible for this summer, hoping to sign two max free agents with the money. Clarkson’s contract, worth about $26 million over the next two seasons, is almost necessary to be moved for that to become a possibility.
Previously, it was reported that the Lakers wanted to wait to move Clarkson until the summer given his help in winning games earlier this year and their belief that they could easily move him. But the losing streak may have changed their minds as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that both the Lakers and Clarkson want a trade to be completed sooner rather than later:
The Los Angeles Lakers, needing to shed salary for summer free agency, had been hopeful of waiting until the end of the season to move Jordan Clarkson — owed $26 million beyond this season — but there’s a mutual desire to find something sooner than later.
Clarkson is in the midst of the best year of his career to date, averaging 14.2 points per game off the bench while hitting career-high shooting percentages from the field and from three.
The most notable part of this rumor, however, is that Clarkson holds a desire to be traded soon, as well. The Lakers have been very open about their desire to create cap space to bring in max players and it has clearly had an effect on the team as players such as Clarkson and Julius Randle understand that their time in LA is probably nearing an end.
The Lakers will now have to tread through the trade season waters with an inexperienced front office, hoping to get assets for Clarkson while not taking back significant longterm contracts.