Lakers keep Clarkson, with a $50-million deal
The Lakers stayed connected with one of their own on the first full day of free agency, agreeing to terms with guard Jordan Clarkson on a four-year, $50-million deal early Friday.
They liked the career arc of their 2014 second-round pick, privately touting his potential and work ethic, and planned to keep the restricted free agent even if he signed an offer sheet with another team, at which point the Lakers would have matched it.
Clarkson, 24, made $845,000 last season. A person familiar with his thinking called the deal “great news.”
The Lakers have more than $30 million left to spend toward next season’s payroll. They are still seeking a small forward and could be “in the mix” for Maurice Harkless, according to a person familiar with his thinking.
Harkless, 23, averaged only 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds last season with Portland. He fared better in the playoffs, scoring double figures in seven consecutive games against the Clippers and Golden State.
The Lakers were highly interested in small forward Nicolas Batum but he agreed to stay with Charlotte for a reported $120 million over five years. Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore, a former Lakers player, was reportedly offered four years and $72 million by the Lakers and accepted slightly less money to stay with the Hawks, according to NBA.com.
As such, the Lakers currently envision plugging rookie Brandon Ingram into the starting lineup. Veteran Nick Young has two more years on his contract totaling $11 million, but it will be a surprise if he’s not traded or waived before training camp.
Clarkson averaged 15.5 points, four rebounds and 2.4 assists in his second NBA season.
In the first hour of free agency, the Lakers agreed to terms with free-agent center Timofey Mozgov on a four-year, $64-million contract. He averaged 6.9 points and five rebounds in six NBA seasons. He turns 30 next week.
Luke Walton’s coaching staff has a familiar look to it.
Brian Shaw and Mark Madsen were selected to be two of his three main assistant coaches, the Lakers announced Friday. They are each former players and assistants for the Lakers.
Shaw worked on Phil Jackson’s staff and also won three championships as a Lakers player in the early 2000s. Shaw was the Denver Nuggets’ head coach for almost two seasons.
Madsen was on the Lakers’ staff the past two years under Coach Byron Scott. He won championships as a player in 2001 and 2002.
Filling out Walton’s staff was Jesse Mermuys, who was with the Toronto Raptors’ organization as the head coach of their Development League team. Like Walton, he is a University of Arizona graduate.
The Lakers’ summer-league entry will have regular-season holdovers D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr., along with rookie Ingram.
Clarkson is not on the roster because he’s proven himself enough at the NBA level, according to a person familiar with the situation. In addition, he’s now one of the Lakers’ highest-paid players.
Julius Randle is also not on the roster but has not been inactive this summer. He has been taking part in private two-a-days, working out with a personal trainer in the morning and a shooting coach in the afternoon.
Randle, Russell, Clarkson and Ingram will be on the USA Select team next month. They will scrimmage against Team USA in exhibition games and some training-camp practices before the Rio Olympics.
Other players on the Lakers’ summer-league team include Anthony Brown, who played sparingly as a rookie last season before sustaining a foot injury; Jabari Brown, who played for the Lakers near the end of the 2014-15 season; and second-round draft pick Ivica Zubac, a center from Croatia.
The Las Vegas summer league begins July 8 and lasts about a week for most teams.
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