As the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaches in February and Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson remain on the roster, Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors are only going to continue to heat up. Particularly given the team’s cap space-driven free agency dreams of drawing superstars like LeBron James and Paul George.
With the Lakers owing $25.9 million to Clarkson over the next two seasons and Randle’s cap hold of around $12.5 million, the team has often been theorized to be looking to move both players. A recent report indicated the Lakers discussed trading Randle to the Dallas Mavericks and are confident they can move Clarkson over the summer.
According to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, the Lakers are very much interested in trading one or both of Clarkson and Randle:
Randle’s situation is worth watching, though. The Lakers would love to trade him if they could, and Jordan Clarkson fits in that category too. Both players know they have been offered in trades by the Lakers, and they’re handling it in different ways.
Generally speaking, Clarkson has handled trade rumors rumors by trying to have fun while he’s a member of the Lakers, while Randle has been more stoic and frustrated by the situation and his playing time.
Both have played relatively well in spite of their likely outgoing statuses, with Randle especially looking like one of the Lakers’ best players on many nights.
However, it’s very clear from all of this buzz that the Lakers aren’t worried about the numbers the two are putting up on the court. The front office is instead concerning themselves with the numbers those two post on the team’s cap sheet.
They represent salary commitments that could (in conjunction with Luol Deng’s unmovable albatross of a contract) keep the Lakers from having enough space to offer two free agents max contracts this July.
Clarkson and Randle aren’t worth not signing a duo of George and James, but the latter pairing is probably a pipe dream. Still, the Lakers are clearly chomping at the bit to take their chances, which is why this will be far from the last report painting the team as wanting to move on from their 2014 draft class.
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