Last week, we looked at several high-profile players whose futures could be speculated on in next season’s transaction cycle. We briefly touched on James given his history of changing teams when his team’s window appears to be closing and are out of moves, or refuse to make them. We saw this story play out most recently in James’ most recent stint in Cleveland. If James were to hit the nuclear button and demand a trade in the 2022 offseason, he would in all likelihood get one. It’s possible he demands one if the Lakers cannot improve the team in his ever tighter window. It feels like L.A. will have to trade their last remaining assets for win-now players to put around James to keep him next year, even if they don’t believe the return significantly improves their title odds.
August 8, 2022 | 3:49 pm EDT Update
Even as rumors of a Jazz rebuild swirl amid reports of trade talks involving Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson stays even-keeled. As the rain fell around us and kids yelled in the distance — pleading for Clarkson to stay in Utah and telling him that he is their favorite player — I took a serious tone and asked Clarkson how he was feeling considering everything that could potentially happen. “I’m chillin’,” he said with the wide and honest smile that has endeared him to Jazz fans for the last two years. “My mood is — I’m always good. My vibe is always good. It doesn’t change. This is my ninth year going into the league. I know how the business of basketball works.”
Newly minted Jazz coach Will Hardy stopped by to meet Clarkson in person and have a brief get-to-know-you session on Saturday while Clarkson was in town, and Hardy made a solid impression with the former Sixth Man of the Year. “I’m not that good at texting or calling people, so it was really cool to just kick it with him today and shoot the (expletive),” Clarkson said. “He’s tight. I like him a lot.”
What Clarkson knows for sure is that he is currently on the Jazz roster, he still has many years of basketball ahead of him, and he’s ready for whatever life throws at him. “Am I happy in Utah? Yes. Do I like my teammates? Yes. I met the new coach and love him,” Clarkson said. “This is all part of what it is. But my preparation never changes and I’m going to wake up every morning and be me and do what I do. Everything is good.”
August 8, 2022 | 3:17 pm EDT Update
Michael Scotto: Sources: James Harden has a 15 percent trade kicker included in his two-year, $68.64 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, @hoopshype has learned. Harden’s deal also contains a player option, as others have reported.