By Matt Citak
With a focus on having as much cap space as possible for next summer’s batch of free agents, the Lakers are confident they can trade guard Jordan Clarkson to free up more money, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.
Clarkson signed a four-year, $50 million deal with Los Angeles prior to the 2016-2017 season.
The Lakers have already taken steps this offseason towards maximizing the team’s cap space for next summer. In June, Los Angeles dumped Timofey Mozgov and the three years, $48 million remaining on his contract to the Brooklyn Nets, costing them a promising young guard in D’Angelo Russell.
“I wouldn’t have made that move if I didn’t think I could use that money [in 2018],” Los Angeles’ president of basketball operations Earvin “Magic” Johnson said. “Enough said.”
“We were able to get amazing salary-cap relief and space so that in July of 2018 we have the ability to add hopefully two max-salary players to our franchise,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka told the Los Angeles Daily News’ Mark Medina.
The Lakers also chose not to offer a multi-year contract to guard George Hill, instead using a major portion of their available cap space on guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who signed a one-year deal with the team for $18 million.
With Clarkson off the books, the Lakers would have about $59.4 million to spend next summer.
The 6-foot-5 Clarkson has been a pleasant surprise for Los Angeles for the last three seasons. After getting selected 46th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, Clarkson has averaged at least 11.9 points in all three seasons with the Lakers.
The 25-year-old point guard finished last season averaging 14.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 29.2 minutes per game.