As the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline approaches, rumors around the Lakers become more and more abundant. On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers have had discussions on a trade centered around Jordan Clarkson.
Wojnarowski also notes that the Lakers have discussed Clarkson trades with other teams. It was reported earlier this week that the Lakers had spoken to the Pistons about a Clarkson for Avery Bradley trade before Detroit traded for Blake Griffin instead. Previous reports have indicated that both the Lakers and Clarkson are hoping for a parting of ways at the deadline. Rumors of the Cavs and Lakers discussing trades have also surfaced before.
As Woj continued to note, the Lakers are perceived as sellers at the trade deadline as they continue to aim for maximum cap space this summer in order to sign multiple star free agents.
However, Clarkson’s value is difficult to gauge. While having a career season, Clarkson’s role is somewhat replaceable at a lower cost than his $12.5 million per season salary.
The Lakers reportedly have offers on the table for Clarkson and/or Julius Randle that would net them a first round pick (the Cavs have the Nets’ top pick for this summer so they could easily trade their own late first-round pick in such a trade) but have not pulled the trigger on any because of concerns about incoming salary.
The Lakers could conceivably trade Clarkson for only expiring contracts if the Cavs move, for example, Channing Frye, Derrick Rose, and Jose Calderon. However, Clarkson’s strengths do not necessarily fix the Cavs’ weaknesses (namely, defense) and it’s easy to envision the Cavs wanting to keep Frye’s $7.5 million contract as salary ballast for a bigger trade.
The trade deadline is at noon PT on February 8.