One of the key free agents the Lakers needed to sign this summer was Jordan Clarkson. They were able to get him to stay for a very team friendly deal at 4 years, $50 million dollars.
Jordan Clarkson has reached agreement on a four-year, $50M deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell The Vertical.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 1, 2016
Jordan Clarkson spoke with Mike Piellucci of VICE sports discussing why he decided to stay with the Lakers. It’s highly likely that other teams were interested in his services, but he chose to stay with a young and rebuilding squad. Jordan Clarkson explained his decision:
“You want to bring it back,” he said. “That’s the reason why you want to stay, because you’re here during the bad times and then you want to be here when it’s time to be good. I don’t want to be the guy to run away from a challenge. That’s why I want to stay here. I don’t feel like there’s pressure, but it’s definitely something you want to happen. Who wants to lose? Who wants to be a loser?”
A key player in the young future
Though the talent level of Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and Brandon Ingram exceeds Jordan Clarkson’s, Clarkson is still an integral part of this rebuild. Clarkson has a ton of talent, although he a is bit older than the other linchpins that make up this group of up and comers. It’s important to note that all these young players, including Clarkson, have worked extremely hard this off season. They all have something to prove. They seem extremely excited to play for Luke Walton, who brings a new system and a new mentality to the team.
Just as important to Clarkson’s decision was the relationship that has developed between himself, Julius Randle, and D’Angelo Russell. With fears of sounding cliché, struggles build character, and most importantly strengthen bonds.
“They are cognizant of the mantle they’ve inherited. They often share dinners, envisioning the next great Lakers teams with themselves at the forefront of a revival. In a way, Walton is no different from them: Young in his profession, but nevertheless tasked with making his mark on a very crowded mural”
What the Future holds
It seems, as Byron Scott would say, that Clarkson understands what it means to be a Laker. It’s imperative that this young core continues to grow together. It’s apparent that they enjoy playing together, and they fully understand that “the mantle” is not given, it’s earned. Where does Clarkson fit in with an ultra-talented young core? Only time and his performances will tell. One thing that is known about Jordan Clarkson is that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Even if that means becoming one of the best sixth men in the league.