The top priority for the Los Angeles Lakers heading into the NBA offseason this summer was re-signing Jordan Clarkson to a lucrative long-term deal. Clarkson was a restricted free agent and didn’t want to leave the franchise, but also wanted to get paid what he’s worth after an impressive two seasons in purple and gold.
Fortunately, it didn’t take long before the two sides came to terms on a new deal. Clarkson promptly signed a four-year deal worth $50 million on the first day of free agency back on July 1.
Although Clarkson was bound to have his fair share of suitors, the Missouri product had no intention of going anywhere. Clarkson wanted to remain with the Lakers and despite the team’s struggles, he didn’t want to run away from the challenge of building this franchise back into a winner, via Mike Piellucci of Vice Sports:
“You want to bring it back,” he said. “That’s the reason why you want to stay, because you’re here during the bad times and then you want to be here when it’s time to be good. I don’t want to be the guy to run away from a challenge. That’s why I want to stay here. I don’t feel like there’s pressure but it’s definitely something you want to happen. Who wants to lose? Who wants to be a loser?”
Clarkson had a chip on his shoulder coming out of college after falling all the way to 46th in the 2014 NBA Draft. Clarkson was passed over by many teams in the draft with a number of guards being selected before him. This helped fuel his fire as he quickly made a name for himself with the Lakers in his rookie season earning NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.
The up-and-comer joined the likes of Laker greats Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Elgin Baylor as players in the franchise’s history to be named to the first team. Clarkson then followed up his solid rookie campaign with another impressive season in his second year in a Lakers uniform paving the way for a long-term contract.
With Jordan Clarkson under contract for the next four seasons, the 24-year-old will be part of the youth movement alongside D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, and Larry Nance Jr. This solid young core of players is expected to be the future of the franchise with high hopes that this team can turn things around in the next few years with head coach Luke Walton leading the charge in Los Angeles.