Nash retired after last season, and spent three injury-riddled seasons with the Lakers.
Second overall draft pick
Russell said he "can definitely play with" Clarkson, the team announced on its Twitter account. Russell said that having two ballhandlers "gives us the advantage".
"If there’s a player in the league that plays like him, it’s Russell Westbrook," Kupchak said. "Now, I’m not saying for a second that Jordan Clarkson is the next Russell Westbrook, but he’s that kind of a ball-handling guard."
The Lakers drafted Clarkson with the 46th pick in the 2014 draft. An injury-riddled roster helped Clarkson gain significant playing time.
In 38 games as a starter, Clarkson averaged 15.8 points, 5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak delivered the good news Monday to Clarkson, who took three weeks off after the season before resuming workouts.
"It was a good feeling and it's a good accomplishment. But at the same time, I have to put it behind me," Clarkson said in a phone interview. "I still have a lot to prove. I have to keep working. I have a lot of things I got to get better at. I have to keep grinding. This is just the beginning."
Clarkson -- the 46th pick in the 2014 draft -- averaged 15.8 points, five assists and 4.2 rebounds per game in his 38 games as a starter.
Along with adding more muscle, Clarkson also wants to improve his leadership skills in the hopes of improving the team’s win total. He added he plans to remain in Los Angeles to improve his game, per the Los Angeles Daily News.
"I'm not satisfied with this year,” he said.
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