Jordan Clarkson didn't have many options. As a restricted free agent, the Lakers could match any offer. As an Arenas Provision player, there was only so much money he could generate on the market. On top of all that, Clarkson loves playing for the Lakers and wanted to stay.
The Lakers reportedly re-signed Clarkson early Friday to a four-year, $50 million deal that makes him a total steal for the purple and gold.
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
Here are three things to know about the Lakers keeping Clarkson:
1. This keeps the young core in place. With D'Angelo Russell at point guard, Brandon Ingram at small forward, and Julius Randle at power forward, the Lakers keeping Clarkson means that their young, hyper-athletic core stays together. The Lakers have been mentioned as a target destination for over a dozen free agents, but in the end, they made their loudest move by keeping Clarkson on a reasonable deal. It's a steal considering Clarkson's upside both on and off ball.
2. Clarkson is a bargain at that price due to the Arenas provision. Other teams were limited in being able to offer Clarkson only the Mid-Level exception price for the first two years, so there was never any chance of a competitive offer the Lakers wouldn't match being fielded. The Lakers got their starting 2-guard -- in the craziest free-agency summer ever when they just spent $64 million on Timofey Mozgov -- back for less than $13 million per season. That's a bargain.
3. Clarkson has to get better. The Lakers have invested in his upside, but Clarkson is 24 and shot 43 percent from the field last season, 34.7 percent from 3-point range. He needs to be able to fit into a team concept better, take a step forward defensively, and as the oldest of that group of young guns, learn to lead an inexperienced squad. The Lakers have made Clarkson a big part of their future. What is Clarkson willing to do to reward that?