With the Feb. 8 trade deadline rapidly approaching, it’s no secret that Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka will explore all avenues in shedding salary ahead of this summer’s historic free-agent class.
The Lakers have long desired to create financial flexibility in order to sign two maximum-salary players this July, with the likes of superstars Paul George, LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins all expected to hit free agency.
In order to achieve this goal, Los Angeles has reportedly made it known that a trio of players in Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle are available in trade talks.
Of the three players rumored to be dangled, an Eastern Conference executive reportedly believes Clarkson is the most attractive trade asset for the Lakers, via Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
Per an Eastern Conference executive, Clarkson is probably the most attractive of the three rumored players, followed by Nance, then Randle, who he called an undersized center who will expect to be compensated this summer.
Clarkson offers an intriguing option for contenders looking to bolster their bench and guard depth for a postseason run. In 39 games this season, he has averaged 14.2 points per contest while shooting a career-best 45.1 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from behind the arc.
The 25-year-old is owed roughly $26 million over the next two seasons, and given the current landscape of NBA contracts, appears to be a bargain for any prospective team assuming his salary.
With the fast development of Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers can afford to put out feelers for Nance and Randle. The former is under contract through the 2019 season while the latter is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer.
Some of Randle’s teammates have reportedly grown weary of his play this season, which could further advance trade talks sooner rather than later.
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