The Lakers may have struck out on landing a marquee free agent. But they managed to keep one of their rising stars from leaving.
The Lakers and second-year guard Jordan Clarkson agreed to a four-year deal worth $50 million, according to league sources. The deal cannot be signed until the NBA moratorium ends on July 7.
The Lakers could have waited considering they could have matched any offer sheet Clarkson received from other teams. That move also could have given the Lakers some short-term relief. Under the so-called Gilbert Arenas rule, the Lakers could pay Clarkson around $5.5 million for the next seasons before receiving a hefty pay raise around $22-$23 million per season.
Still, that approach could hurt the Lakers’ future cap space when the free agency classes might be considered more talented. The Lakers also wanted to send the message that they value the 24-year-old Clarkson after finishing last season second in points (15.5) and first in minutes played (32.5). The Lakers bought the rights from the Washington Wizards to select Clarkson 46th overall in the 2014 NBA draft. He then landed on the NBA’s All-Rookie team and became a fixture in the team’s starting rotation.
“We had two tough years, but I don’t want to be a guy that is afraid and will run away from challenges,” Clarkson said last month. “I want to be a part of the situation when it turns around because I was here when it was down. I never want to leave.”