Yesterday, it was reported that the Lakers had made the trio of Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance, Jr. available in trade talks with about a month left until the deadline. It was not surprising news; Clarkson’s contract is a hindrance to creating cap space for two max contracts, Randle is an upcoming free agent, and Kyle Kuzma’s emergence makes Nance expendable.
What may be surprising, however, is the trade value of those three players. Following via Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus:
Per an Eastern Conference executive, Clarkson is probably the most attractive of the three rumored players, followed by Nance, then Randle, who he called an undersized center who will expect to be compensated this summer.
There are two ways to look at this depending on if you want to be optimistic or pessimistic.
The glass half full side says it’s a good thing that Clarkson has the highest value among the trio given that he is the player the Lakers most need to trade. His salary is greater than Randle’s cap hold and Nance’s salary combined, by a lot, so he most affects the Lakers’ chances of being able to sign multiple stars.
On the other hand, Clarkson’s value being the highest among those players might just show how low Randle and Nance’s value is. Clarkson, despite having the best year of his career, is a sixth man type that is fairly replaceable on a cheaper contract.
Either way, the Lakers have been reported to feel confident they can move Clarkson and according to one recent report, both they and Clarkson want the deal to happen soon. It’s also important to note that this is one member of one of the 29 other front offices that feels this way; there’s no guarantee that other organizations rank the three Lakers’ youngsters in that order even if the logic makes sense.
The Lakers will be navigating a difficult trade season. They are hoping to clear salary (although they’ve reportedly given up on moving Luol Deng) but also want to accumulate assets for Clarkson, Nance, and Randle as all three, especially the latter, have shown potential as young players.