Jordan Clarkson RumorsAll NBA Players
The Lakers face one of their easiest decisions of the summer on Saturday, the deadline to cut second-year guard Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson, selected 46th overall in the 2014 NBA draft, is under contract for the 2015-16 season, but for a non-guaranteed $845,059. According to the terms of his contract, Clarkson’s contract locks in for the year, provided the Lakers do not waive him on or by Aug. 1. Naturally, the Lakers will keep one of last season’s best rookies, as confirmed to The Times by a team spokesman.
Because Clarkson played with the Lakers’ summer league squad in Las Vegas earlier in the month, the guarantee date of his contract moved up from opening night (approximately Oct. 31) to the first day of August. Once the Lakers let the deadline pass on Saturday, the team will have 14 players under contract, with two (Tarik Black and Jabari Brown) on similar non-guaranteed $845,059 deals.
Vitti is often an emissary between players and management. He recently met up with Bryant, with whom he shares a longtime bond. “He was asking about our young kids, and I said, ‘You cannot believe how quick and athletic Jordan Clarkson is. He looks fantastic,'” Vitti said. “I said I personally thought D’Angelo Russell is going to be a star. He makes hard things look easy when he has the ball in his hands. “Then Kobe said to me, ‘Well, then who’s going to play [small forward]?’ I looked at him and I said, ‘You.’ And with absolute, 100% confidence, he said, ‘I can do that.'”
When he was finally able to suit up for the Tigers in 2013-14, Clarkson’s playmaking had evolved since his days at Tulsa. In the Braggin’ Rights game against Illinois at the end of December, he had a 25-8-6 line and stunned even Haith with a coast-to-coast layup where he glided in from behind the 3-point line. After scoring 28 points against Kentucky at the beginning of February, Clarkson had a conversation at his apartment with his father, Mike, and his stepmother, Janie. They told him that Mike had a rare form of cancer in his lower back. Clarkson and Missouri didn’t want to publicize this, but everyone close to him knew he was struggling. Both Mike and Janie have since said that he wondered if he should just give up on basketball. “It affected him, it really did,” Haith said. “Jordan may not say it did, but it did. He wasn’t the same player he was up until that point. His father kept telling him, ‘Hey I’m going to be fine, I’m great,’ but his game wasn’t the same as it was before that.”
Clarkson is determined to build on his First Team All-Rookie status. He’s been killing himself with trainer Drew Hanlen since the end of the season, and has put on muscle while looking just as explosive as last year, exemplified as he posterized Utah’s Jack Cooley — “Jordan’s dunk, wow,” said teammate Larry Nance, Jr.
Two games into summer league, one thing appears certain for the Lakers — their top scoring option, at least in Las Vegas, is Jordan Clarkson. The second year guard followed up a 23-point performance on Friday with 19 points during a 68-60 victory over the 76ers on Saturday. He was eight for 16 from the field and was aggressive defensively with three steals.
The Lakers on Thursday announced their Las Vegas summer league roster. Current players and draft picks on the squad include guards D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown, guard/forward Anthony Brown, forwards Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. and center Tarik Black.