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Lakers' Jordan Clarkson adds skills challenge to his All-Star weekend schedule

Lakers' Jordan Clarkson adds skills challenge to his All-Star weekend schedule
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson catches his breath against the Mavericks as the first quarter ends during a game at Staples Center on Jan. 26. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Jordan Clarkson's All-Star weekend keeps getting busier.

The NBA added more tasks to his schedule, making him part of the eight-player skills challenge next Saturday in Toronto. The league announced last week that Clarkson would take part in the rising stars challenge next Friday, a game that includes only first- and second-year NBA players.

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"Busy. No time off!" he said jokingly Thursday. "It's cool. I get to go out there and have some fun."

Clarkson remains the Lakers' steadiest player and is second in scoring among all second-year pros.

In the skills challenge, he'll take part in shooting, passing and dribbling drills in an obstacle course. Last year's champion, Houston guard Patrick Beverley, will be in the competition, along with Boston guard Isaiah Thomas and Portland guard CJ McCollum.

Multiple frontcourt players will be part of the competition for the first time, including Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State center-forward Draymond Green, Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns and New Orleans forward Anthony Davis.

In the rising stars game, he'll be paired with Lakers teammate D'Angelo Russell and eight other young players in a "U.S. vs. the World" format.

Clarkson, 23, will be busy for two-thirds of All-Star weekend. He wants to play in the actual game one of these years.

"I hope that happens. That's what I'm working for," he said.

He was averaging 15.2 points and 2.4 assists before scoring 18 points and adding two assists in the Lakers' 99-96 victory Thursday over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Clarkson will be a restricted free agent after this season and can re-sign with the Lakers for four years and a max of $88.9 million, which would be a lot of money even with the ever-expanding salary cap.

Teams with enough cap room can give him a max of $57.8 million over four years or $34.1 million over three years. Clarkson can sign an offer sheet with only one team, which the Lakers have the option of matching, and presumably would.

A less likely scenario would be Clarkson signing the Lakers' one-year qualifying offer of $2.7 million and being a restricted free agent again after next season.

Some swag

Nick Young surfaced a bit after a slew of nondescript games.

The Lakers reserve scored eight first-half points Thursday, surpassing his season average coming into the night (7.3 a game).

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He finished with 11 points and surprisingly did most of his damage at the free-throw line, making all six of his attempts.

Young, 30, scored in double digits only one other time since Dec. 28. He did not get off the bench in six games over that span but his playing time was recently on the rise.

He has two more years and $11.1 million left on his contract.

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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