The Dallas Mavericks are expected to be active at the trade deadline this year so would the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson AND Julius Randle be possibilities?
It’s never too early to talk deals at the NBA trade deadline. This statement is especially true for a team like the Mavericks who stand in 12th place of Western Conference and far outside the playoff picture.
So with trade talk particularly en vogue these days, we turn to one of the most realistic blockbusters out there: a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. And two players of particular interest on the Lakers are power forward Julius Randle and point guard Jordan Clarkson.
Last month, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski told us the Lakers and Mavs spoke about swapping Noel for Randle. Such a situation got us thinking, Why not go for Randle AND Clarkson?
To first understand why the Lakers would want to part with such promising young stars, one must first understand the “State of the Lakers”. The Lakers are in a precarious position right now. They are a poor team with plenty of young, untapped talent. But they’re also expected to major players in free agency.
Unlike the Dallas Mavericks, LA is always considered a desirable location to high-profile free agents. LeBron James and Paul George are two elite free agents expected to land with Los Angeles this summer. The only problem is the Lakers can’t afford them.
Insert salary dump.
Clearly the Lakers would love nothing more than to rid themselves of Loul Deng’s albatross of a contract. But with $36.8 over next two seasons remaining, that just ain’t gonna happen. So, Plan B on the salary dump strategy is to begrudgingly jettison Randle and/or Clarkson.
Both players have been surpassed by younger, more promising options and have seen a reduction in minutes as a result. Randle, a restricted free agent this summer, is the most likely to be traded at the deadline. Clarkson, under contract for the next two seasons, isn’t considered a “must-trade” this season…yet.
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No longer in possession of their first round pick next summer, the Lakers have every reason to win now. And right now, Jordan Clarkson is helping them win. But if the Lakers really do have plans to add two max contract players this summer, Clarkson is going to have to go.
Taking care of business now will reduce the to-do list this summer when the Lakers will be under the gun to get something done.
At 6’5” Clarkson would be a great complement to the diminutive group of Dennis Smith Jr, J.J. Barea, and Yogi Ferrell already in the Mavs’ PG stable. There would be plenty of room for him on the Mavs to play point guard or even alongside a PG as a shooting guard.
Julius Randle may be exclusively a power forward but the Mavs would easily be able to make room for this 23-year-old Dallas native. Both players are dying for more minutes and have yet to even approach their ceilings. A move to Dallas looks like a positive move for the Mavs as well as a positive move for them.
Of course, the Lakers would want something in return. The cost would include the usual suspects: Nerlens Noel, Devin Harris, and Josh McRoberts. Noel being the budding young talent and the latter two being the expiring contracts. In fact, Harris has played so well this season, he would be a great replacement to Clarkson and should be able to duplicate much of his production.
Of all the trade scenarios floating around, a deal with the Lakers seems the most likely. If the Mavs can snag both Randle AND Clarkson in it, they’d be well on their way to turning this franchise around.