ThThe Los Angeles Lakers are set to enter a critical offseason with the primary focus set on what will unfold during the free agency period.
Along these same lines, the Lakers will have several notable free agents headlined by Jordan Clarkson, who is set to become a restricted free agent for the first time in his young career. The 23-year-old will have several options on the table, but he has already made it be known what he prefers to do.
“So, I want to be here in L.A.,” Clarkson said. “This is the place where I want to call home, so I’m just in the gym and working. That’s all I can control—myself getting better. If I end up somewhere else or I stay in L.A., that’s what I’d love to do.”
It shouldn’t come to much of a surprise that Clarkson wants to stay in Los Angeles given that he’s a part of the team’s young core alongside Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell. The future of the franchise may be up in the air with the retirement of Kobe Bryant, but the organization has strong hopeful that their young players can lead the charge with new head coach Luke Walton at the helm.
Clarkson is coming off a productive second year that saw him post a career-high 15,5 points, which was the second-highest on the team while shooting a modest 34.7 percent from 3-point range in 79 games played. It could be argued that he was the most consistent scorer for the Lakers this past season that included notching double-figure points in all but nine games while recording 20-plus points on 20 occasions.
Clarkson should receive a significant pay raise this summer, but that number will be capped by the Gilbert Arenas rule that helps teams keep their young players. The highest contract that he can get from another team will be a four-year deal with around $13 million a season, which would be well within the range that the Lakers would be willing to spend to retain him.
Los Angeles will have around $60 million in salary cap space this upcoming offseason with just six players under contract for next season.
Bob Garcia IV
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