The Los Angeles Lakers just keep providing the free-agency hits well into the depths of summer exhibitions.
Even after inking Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a deal, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Magic Johnson and the front office keep popping up in rumblings for a variety of reasons, ranging from potential new additions to other factors those in charge might consider.
It’s impressive, really, given the wealth of long-term planning the team seems to have come up with as it prepares for an all-out assault on 2018. This year is all about Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, with the following offseason about Paul George and others.
Below is a look at the latest details around the team, ranging from a trade candidate to a comeback candidate to possible remaining free-agent targets.
Clarkson Opens Up
It’s natural to think the next step for the Lakers is flirting with the idea of a trade. The line of thought especially applies to someone like Jordan Clarkson, who will eat into the playing time of Ball and KCP otherwise but fetch a nice return on the market.
Clarkson isn’t letting any such talk bother him.
“That [stuff] will happen,” Clarkson said, according to the Los Angeles Times‘ Tania Ganguli. “Internet [stuff], people want to get clicks on their page and all kinds of stuff. It is what it is. It’s part of the business. I love L.A. I’m staying here. Gotta put on this year.”
Interestingly enough, the writeup mentions Clarkson‘s name came up in discussions when the Lakers entered trade talks with the Indiana Pacers about Paul George.
Nothing materialized there, and it’s not hard to see why—Clarkson is still all of 25 years old coming off a season in which he shot 44.5 percent from the field on the way to averaging 14.7 points over 29.2 minutes.
For the time being, it seems like the Lakers are happy enough to keep Clarkson around and let him run with the new guys. It’s an adjustment for him from a role standpoint, though how much his playing time takes a nosedive might hinge on whether the Lakers want to bring on another veteran backcourt player.
One guy seems to have targeted the Lakers for such a role.
Remember Jordan Farmar?
Farmar continues to bounce around the league as his career winds down, with the Lakers an apparent ideal destination for him if the team has an interest in a reunion.
Now 30 years old, Farmar has at least reached out to the Lakers about making something happen, according to HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy:
Farmar last played for the Lakers in 2013-14, where he suited up for 41 games as a depth piece. He’s since bounced around with three different teams, last appearing in all of two games with the Sacramento Kings when the team needed relief at the point.
The idea of Farmar landing somewhere notable isn’t so outlandish—he’s one of the guys who worked out with the Cleveland Cavaliers last February and was open to a 10-day contract, according to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin.
A deal with the Lakers would be a bit different, though, because Farmar seems to want a contract spanning a full season. Given his age and career averages of 7.7 points and 2.9 assists, though, he’d serve more of a mentor role than anything else.
The Lakers still have eyes for other guys who can mentor and soak up big minutes.
The Hunt for Backcourt Help
The Lakers aren’t without options in the backcourt.
Rajon Rondo remains the biggest name to watch even after the KCP signing. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers still want to ink him to a deal if possible and have a smaller exception to use if necessary.
After a meeting with Rondo, though, it seems Magic and the front office might go another direction. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN offered a report Wednesday:
While it doesn’t sound like Rondo is out of the running, interest in younger players hints at his asking price being a bit too high given the team’s situation.
As far as backups go, it’s hard to go wrong with a Tyler Ennis or Ian Clark. The former only showed up in 22 games for the Lakers last year yet played well and is only 22 years old, meaning he has upside to offer the organization as a backup for a long time.
Clark is a bit more interesting at 26 years old as a former member of the Golden State Warriors who shot 48.7 percent from the floor last year while playing a key depth role. Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times reported the Milwaukee Bucks also have an interest in Clark, so the market won’t wait long for the Lakers.
Clearly, though, the Lakers will show patience after jumping the gun on KCP, not that it was a bad move—the team stole a high-upside player on a short-term deal after most figured he’d never hit the open market in the first place.
But one can see the dilemma here. Should the Lakers use the remaining space on another youth-movement signing or a veteran like Rondo to help steer the ship?
Hindsight will provide quite the interesting perspective on how the Lakers went about a decision here.
All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.
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