After interviewing with them for the past two days, Earl Clark agreed to a two-year, $9 million deal to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to a league source.
The Lakers had expressed their interest in talks Sunday and Monday about re-signing Clark, who became a pleasant surprise after being considered no more than a throw-in in the original deal that brought Dwight Howard to the Orlando Magic. But Clark’s return to the Lakers hinged on whether it would somewhat mirror the $1.2 million he left last season. The Lakers could only sign players with either the mini mid-level exception ($3.2 million) or the veteran’s minimum ($1.4 million). They also didn’t want to sign reserves beyond next year in hopes to maintain cap flexibility for the 2014 offseason.
Clark averaged a career-high 7.3 points on 44 percent shooting through 23.1 minutes in 59 regular-season games, including 36 as a starter. His increased role coincided with injuries to Jordan Hill (left hip) and Pau Gasol (concussion) as well as Mike D’Antoni’s preference for smaller lineups. Clark production dipped though in later months, including the playoffs. Clark averaged only 3.5 points on 36.8 percent shooting and 3 rebounds through 20.5 minutes in the Lakers’ first-round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs.
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