The New York Knicks are reportedly eyeing Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson, who will become a free agent after the 2015-16 NBA season.
The Knicks recently hired Jeff Hornacek as their new head coach, prompting speculations New York will sign a new point guard to run the show in the Big Apple. According to ESPN, some team officials want the Knicks to pursue Clarkson this summer.
Clarkson, who had a solid sophomore season for the Lakers this year, is expected to field several offers when the free agency period begins in July. The former Missouri standout, who averaged 15.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season, is a restricted free agent, which means the Lakers could match offers to keep the playmaker.
Clarkson could blossom more playing under Hornacek, who is expected to run a fast-paced system combined with the elements of the triangle offense. However, the Lakers remain on track to keep Clarkson. It is worth noting, though, the Knicks could win the race if they offer a lucrative deal the Lakers are not willing to match.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the Lakers could have at least $60 million cap room this summer but will prioritize signing a marquee free agent. Recent Lakers rumors suggested they will try to sign Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, who will be the best available player on the free agent market this summer.
Clarkson, who was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2015, wants a long-term deal with the Lakers. But aside from financial factors, the 24-year-old hinted that his loyalty to the team who selected him in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft could influence his decision this offseason.
“We had two tough years, but I don’t want to be a guy that is afraid and will run away from challenges,” said Clarkson, referring to the Lakers’ 38-126 record over the past two seasons. “I want to be a part of the situation when it turns around because I was here when it was down.”