Los Angeles Lakers Agree To 4-Year, $50 Million Deal For Jordan Clarkson

April 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (6) dunks to score a basket against Utah Jazz during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
April 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (6) dunks to score a basket against Utah Jazz during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Former second round pick Jordan Clarkson has agreed to four-year contract to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers.

It has been just two seasons since Jordan Clarkson was selected with the 46th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but the Los Angeles Lakers guard has spent those two years proving he was a gem unearthed in the second round.

Clarkson unexpectedly started 38 games in his rookie campaign where he averaged 11.9 points per game.

In 2015-16 he became a full-time starter for the Lakers, showing solid improvement as he posted 15.5 points per game and increased his three-point shooting percentage from 31.4 percent to 34.7 percent. Jordan Clarkson finished as the team’s second leading scorer behind only future Hall-of-Famer Kobe Bryant, who averaged 17.6 points per game in his farewell tour.

According to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, the Lakers have agreed upon a four-year, $50 million extension for their restricted free agent.

The Lakers got a good price on the former second round pick. Jordan Clarkson would have been eligible for a four-year, $61 million contract under the “Gilbert Arenas rule” so four years and $50 million seems like a fair price.

After all, Clarkson is a guy who could end up as the Lakers’ primary scoring threat next season in a lineup that features Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov, who also just agreed to a four-year contract worth $64 million.

Jordan Clarkson has proven to be a hard-working player who does a better than average job defensively but he has shown the potential to be a very good offensive player.

This season he had 20 games scoring 20 points or more, including multiple 20+ outbursts against Golden State and dropping 30 on the Nuggets early in the season.

With Kobe Bryant now retired and a new, up-tempo offense to be installed by Luke Walton, the 24-year-old should be in position to post even better offensive numbers next season, which will make this current contract look like a great bargain in the new NBA salary landscape.

Jeremy Lin just agreed to a three-year, $36 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets, coming off a season where he averaged 11.7 points in only 26.3 minutes per game. With this signing the Lakers were able to lock up Clarkson, who is three years younger, still reaching his potential and already posting slightly better numbers than Lin — for roughly the same price with an extra year tacked on.

Bradley Beal has agreed to a five-ear deal worth $130 million with Washington. Jordan Clarkson hasn’t proven the same level of three-point accuracy as Beal, but his bulk numbers are not far behind and certainly within reach with another year of development. By comparison, Clarkson’s contract looks like a steal.

Clarkson also is typically not given credit for how much he’s shown already. Overshadowed by Kobe Bryant’s retirement tour, the drama surrounding D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young, and the dismissal of former coach Byron Scott is how good Clarkson has been in his young career.

Looking at players 24 years old and younger, only 12 players averaged more points per game last season than Jordan Clarkson and among those names are the likes of Anthony Davis, C.J. McCollum, Andrew Wiggins, Kyrie Irving and Karl-Anthony Towns. In fact, only two of those 12 players were drafted outside of the top 10: Giannis Antetokounmpo (15th) and Khris Middleton (39th).

Clarkson also posted better scoring numbers than restricted free agent Harrison Barnes, who could potentially garner a max contract this offseason.

It is not an apples-to-apples comparison given the success of each player’s team last year and their respective roles, but the point remains — someone is going to pay Barnes a ton of money for what they hope he can be. The Lakers paid a a pittance by comparison for what they have seen Jordan Clarkson develop into.

More importantly for the future of the franchise, though, is that this contract keeps the Lakers flexible to make further moves. Yes they seemingly overpaid for Timofey Mozgov, but with Mozgov and Clarkson as the only heavy salaries on the books going forward, the Lakers could very quickly put themselves in position to be an attractive free agency destination next season.

Kevin Durant will most likely return to OKC, but it’ll probably on a 1 + 1 deal, giving him the chance to be a free agent next season when the cap explodes again. This offseason might not be the time but it certainly is not a stretch to see the Lakers being a serious destination for an elite player next year.

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With a respected young coach, a very young team loaded with potential and the draw of Hollywood, the Lakers certainly look attractive on paper and if that happens, having Jordan Clarkson on the books for this deal will be a key reason the Lakers would be in position to even think about bringing in a true superstar.