The Los Angeles Lakers can no longer trade for a $101 million star shooting guard.
According to a November 23 report from Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Utah Jazz plan to keep Jordan Clarkson.
“Utah has so far signaled an intent to keep breakout star forward Lauri Markkanen plus franchise favorite Jordan Clarkson, and have established a high asking price for Jarred Vanderbilt, sources told Yahoo Sports, leaving Malik Beasley and Kelly Olynyk, along with Conley, as the obvious veterans the Jazz could move before the Feb. 9 trade deadline,” Fischer reported. “Olynyk is known to be a favorite of Ainge.”
The Lakers are interested in acquiring Clarkson and Mike Conley from the Jazz, league sources told Heavy.com. Conley, a one-time All-Star, is making $22.7 million this season, while Clarkson is earning $13.3 million.
According to an October 3 report from Sam Amick, Shams Charania and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers tried to acquire Clarkson over the summer before it was made clear that Jazz owner Ryan Smith had no intentions of letting him go. Clarkson appeared in 273 games with the Lakers before getting traded in 2018. He averaged 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
The Lakers Need Clarkson
It’s too bad the Jazz want to keep Clarkson. He’s a player the Lakers desperately need next to All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The scoring guard is averaging 19.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists this season while shooting 43.3% from the field, 37.5% from beyond the arc and 85.5% from the free-throw line.
Clarkson is a gifted scorer who can hit 3-pointers and create his own shot off the dribble. The 30-year-old made 190 3-pointers in 2021-22 and 208 in 2020-21. Clarkson won the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2020-21. He averaged 18.4 points off the bench for the Jazz.
A Florida native, Clarkson already has a rapport with James. The two were teammates during the 2017-18 season on the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers acquired Clarkson from the Lakers at the 2018 trade deadline and went 18-10 when James and Clarkson were in the lineup. James averaged 29.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9.5 assists in 28 games with Clarkson in 2017-18, while Clarkson put up 12.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game alongside James.
Clarkson signed a four-year, $51.5 million contract with the Jazz in November 2020. He will have accumulated more than $101 million in NBA money with the Lakers, Cavaliers and Jazz when his current contract expires following the 2023-24 season.
Lakers Think It’s Realistic to Play .500 Basketball Before Trade Options Open Up
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin revealed on the November 23 episode of “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” that the Lakers believe they can play .500 basketball before more trade options open up on December 15.
“What they feel is realistic is playing .500 ball until December 15 when deals start to potentially open around the league because that’s when contracts that were signed this past summer can be traded,” McMenamin said. “And then maybe you can finally make this mythical draft-pick trade that’s been talked about for months and months and months sometime in late December to mid-January and have that be an additional thrust to the type of basketball you’ve already been doing, you’ve already established.”
The Lakers are 5-11 on the season. They have the second-worst record in the Western Conference and the second-worst offensive rating.