Following a successful two-year spell with the Golden State Warriors, Ian Clark reportedly is moving on to the New Orleans Pelicans after agreeing to a one-year deal with the team Tuesday, per The Vertical’s Shams Charania.
He appeared in 143 games for Golden State and averaged 5.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists a night. Particularly this past season, Clark benefited from the Warriors’ overall dominance. As head coach Steve Kerr rested his stars late in games, Clark had an opportunity to shine.
The 26-year-old scored 22 points in Golden State’s 127-104 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 1 and then dropped 23 points in his team’s 135-90 win over Portland on Dec. 17.
Clark’s best performance in a Warriors uniform came in their 107-85 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs on March 11. He scored 36 points on 15-of-21 shooting.
To a certain extent, the more Clark’s profile grew, the higher his chances of leaving the Bay Area became.
Over the last few years, Warriors general manager Bob Myers has had to save what money he can to accommodate the team’s core of stars. Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa were among Golden State’s salary-cap casualties a year ago.
The Warriors avoided a similar problem by retaining Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry this summer. In doing so, though, they left themselves with little cap space left to re-sign Clark.
In a perfect world, Golden State would’ve been able to keep Clark, thus helping maintain a good level of depth off the bench. However, Clark isn’t a key contributor and thus an expendable member of the squad.
Signing with the Pelicans could allow Clark to shine in a way he never would’ve with the Warriors. In the space of four years, Kent Bazemore went from being recognized almost solely for his celebrations on the bench in Golden State to re-signing with the Atlanta Hawks for $70 million over four years.
Clark shot 37.4 percent from beyond the arc and averaged 16.7 points per 36 minutes in his last season with the Warriors, per Basketball Reference. Assuming he can maintain or potentially improve those numbers in New Orleans, he’ll be a solid role player for head coach Alvin Gentry.
The only question is where he’ll fit into the team’s rotation. The Pelicans re-signed Jrue Holiday and signed Rajon Rondo. Gentry plans to start the pair together, which could allow Clark to be the first guard off the bench.
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