The Los Angeles Lakers decided to keep their young core despite “seductive offers” from several NBA teams. Aside from Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson also received interest from other teams but the Lakers refused to include him in any deal.
“Leading up to yesterday’s trade deadline, almost every time the Lakers fielded a phone call, they were asked about Jordan Clarkson and his availability,” Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum Sportsnet said on the network’s pregame broadcast before the Lakers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder (H/T Silver Screen and Roll). “Maybe teams are kind of prodding the Lakers to see if he’s a little bit undervalued. Nope, they definitely want to hang on to him.”
Before the trade deadline, Lakers president of basketball operations made it clear that their young players were untouchables. Despite the need of a legitimate superstar, the Lakers decided to reject a trade that would send them DeMarcus Cousins. The Sacramento Kings were reportedly asking for a trade package center on rookie forward Brandon Ingram whom the Lakers refused to give up.
Acquiring a superstar wouldn’t make the Lakers an immediate contender. As of now, the best thing they can do is to wait for the development of their young players. Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle, the results of the Lakers year’s of tanking, showed their potential to become future superstars.
Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Tarik Black, and Ivica Zubac also showed their capability to help the Lakers become a better team. After the Lou Williams trade, coach Luke Walton vowed to give more playing time to Russell and Clarkson. Their plan to unload their veteran continues as they reportedly plan to buyout Jose Calderon’s contract.
The decision didn’t come as a surprise. Walton already stated in the past that they will be using the final months of the season to prioritize the development of their young players. Young backcourts like Jordan Clarkson could use the opportunity to improve consistencies on both ends of the floor.
Jordan Clarkson turning into an elite defender
The Filipino-American guard definitely knows his inconsistencies, especially on the defensive end. However, both Walton and Johnson still believe that Clarkson could become an elite defender. Clarkson’s defensive numbers might not look good but Walton thinks his quickness would greatly help him to become stronger.
“I feel like I have the ability to do that,” Clarkson said. “I’m quick and able to guard in the post.” The Lakers’ decision to keep Clarkson after the trade deadline means they see him as an essential part of their long-term plan. However, if Clarkson fails to show a major improvement at the end of the season, it would not be a surprise if his name surfaces in trade rumors this summer.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons