Lakers Urged to Trade for $51 Million Star Shooting Guard

Darvin Ham

Getty Lakers head coach Darvin Ham (left) and GM Rob Pelinka

The Los Angeles Lakers have been urged to trade for a $51 million star shooting guard.

On October 31, Bleacher Report’s Maurice Bobb wrote that the Lakers should try to acquire Jordan Clarkson from the Utah Jazz. Los Angeles would likely have to move on from Russell Westbrook to get Clarkson, who began his career with the Lakers.

“But if they still want to trade Westbrook, they should definitely try for Clarkson. Many may point to the fact that they play with the same kind of shoot-first mentality, but the differentiator between them is that Clarkson can shoot,” Bobb wrote. “He can take some pressure off LeBron James and Anthony Davis because there’s no way a defender is lagging off him, daring him to pull the trigger. He’s too lethal, especially when he gets it going. Clarkson won’t find his way to the Hall of Fame like Westbrook, but as L.A. works to address its many issues, trading the latter for the former makes all the sense in the world.”

The Lakers are interested in acquiring Clarkson and Mike Conley from the Jazz, league sources told Conley, a one-time All-Star, will make $22.7 million this season, while Clarkson will earn $13.3 million.

Westbrook’s contract expires after this season, so the Jazz are one of the few teams open to absorbing his massive salary since they are in rebuild mode after trading All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell over the summer.

Clarkson Is a Gifted Scorer

Clarkson is a gifted scorer who can shoot 3-pointers and create his own shot off the dribble. The 30-year-old hit 190 3-pointers in 2021-22 and 208 in 2020-21. Clarkson won the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2021. He averaged 18.4 points off the bench for the Jazz.

Through the first seven games of this season, Clarkson has averaged 17.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 43.0% from the field, 37.5% from beyond the arc and 73.7% from the free-throw line. According to an October 24 report from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Lakers and Jazz will talk again about a Westbrook trade later in the season. Los Angeles and Utah almost completed a trade during the offseason.

“Utah has been connected to the Lakers for months, too. League sources say that before the Jazz sent Bojan Bogdanovic to the Pistons, the Lakers offered Westbrook, a future first-round pick, and second-rounders for Bogdanovic and others,” O’Connor wrote. “Sources expect the Lakers and Jazz to resume talks later in the season with some combination of other players discussed. (Utah has Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley, and Rudy Gay—three veterans who can all shoot.)”

Clarkson Already Has a Rapport with LeBron James

Clarkson already has a rapport with Lakers superstar LeBron 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 is a better fit next to James than Westbrook is since he can make 3-pointers. The Florida native has drilled 21 shots from deep in seven games this season, while Westbrook has hit only four in five games.

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 Utah 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.

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