The Los Angeles Lakers made their first big move of the off-season by hiring new coach Luke Walton. Another big decision for the team will come once free agency begins as the team’s top returning scorer, second-year guard Jordan Clarkson, is a restricted free agent.
Clarkson has spoken about wanting to remain in Los Angeles which is a good sign for the Lakers prospects of keeping him. In an interview with ESPN’s Jovan Buha, Clarkson spoke about the impact Walton’s hiring has on his free agency:
“It really impacts it a lot,” Clarkson told ESPN.com on Friday in a phone interview when asked about how the hiring affects his free-agency decision. “That style of play fits me, as well as the other guys. I definitely want to stay here in L.A. and be here. I said in my exit interview, I don’t want to be that guy who bounces around from team to team.
“I want to be here in L.A. — a place where I can call home — and leave a legacy. The hiring makes it even better.”
Clarkson also noted that he had spoken with Walton about what to expect next season and moving forward:
“It went really well,” Clarkson said. “He told me about his style of play and how he really wants the young core to really bond together. Mostly, it was about how he wants to play and how he sees us, along with the future of the franchise.”
It is good to hear Clarkson re-iterating his desire to remain with the Lakers and to express excitement about playing for Walton. Julius Randle has already spoken about his excitement for playing in Walton’s offense and Clarkson should also thrive under a more fast-paced, ball-movement focused system.
Clarkson speaking with Walton about what to expect next season is just further confirmation on Clarkson’s expectation to remain in Los Angeles. The young Lakers core all seem to be excited about what Walton will bring to the table, now it’s just a matter of everything coming together on the court.