Los Angeles Lakers are determined to match any and all offer sheets that Jordan Clarkson receives in free agency, according to sources close to the organization.
Clarkson, a restricted free agent this summer, has received interest from the likes of New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks. In fact, Knicks are reportedly “convinced” that Clarkson would fit perfectly into Phil Jackson’s triangle offense.
Clarkson could receive max offer sheets worth $34.3 million for three years or $58 million for four years. However, the first year of his max contract would pay him only around $6 million, as per the Gilbert Arenas provision (Remember, Clarkson would be in the third year of his career). While Clarkson’s contract would see a 4.5 per cent increase in the second year, it would jump significantly in the third and fourth years, especially with the NBA salary cap set to explode.
According to sources close to the Lakers Front Office, it’s “not debatable” but a guarantee that the team will match all offer sheets and rope in Clarkson for the long haul with a possible four or five-year contract extension. Prior to drafting D’Angelo Russell with the second overall pick, GM Mitch Kupchak made it resoundingly clear that the team wants Russell and Clarkson to form the backcourt of the future.
What about DeRozan?
If Lakers decide to sign Clarkson to a max deal, they could face a conundrum with regards to signing prized free agent DeMar DeRozan. This, because, they will have limited money to sign Clarkson and perhaps chase an elite center such as Hassan Whiteside, Joakim Noah or Al Horford. Essentially, the Lakers would have to choose between Clarkson and DeRozan, if the latter agrees to become a Laker.
Since the own Clarkson’s Bird Rights, it’s possible that Lakers go overboard their spending and bring the guard back to L.A. However, it could boil down to a basketball decision since DeRozan is more suited to play at the 2 spot, a position which Clarkson has made his own. Therefore, the Lakers could be facing serious challenges.
The wise decision would be for Lakers to execute a sign-and-trade for Clarkson if they get the right deal with an interested suitor. For example, if the Sixers are ready to part with either Nerlens Noel or a high draft pick, the Lakers should pull the trigger.