The Los Angeles Lakers honored Kobe Bryant last night in what was one of the most memorable games in NBA history. Kobe Bryant went out on his terms, scoring 60 points, sparking a fourth quarter comeback, and knocking down the game winner.
The Lakers celebrated the past 20 years last night, but today marks a shift in focus to the future. Jordan Clarkson is undeniably a key piece in the future core of the Lakers, and he is set to become a restricted free agent this summer.
The Lakers began exit interviews today, and Clarkson was asked about where he will end up this offseason. According to Serena Winters, Clarkson wants to remain a Laker:
Jordan Clarkson is a restricted free agent: "I feel confident that I’ll be back here. I want to be here."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) April 14, 2016
This is welcome news for Lakers fans, because although the Lakers are likely to match any offer for Clarkson, it is always a good sign that he wants to be a part of the Lakers organization for many years to come.
Kobe Bryant encouraged the young Lakers core of Clarkson, Julius Randle, and D’Angelo Russell to remain in contact every day during the offseason and to continue to work out together. Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News reports that Clarkson will make sure that happens this summer:
Clarkson said he's going to make sure he, Russell, and Randle put in a lot of work this summer
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 14, 2016
If the Clarkson, Randle, and Russell can improve together and develop more chemistry in the offseason, they are going to make a lot of noise in the NBA for many years to come.
The priority for the Lakers is to improve their roster this summer, and retaining Clarkson is certainly a step in the right direction.