NBA Trade Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers Could Deal Jordan Clarkson, Trade for DeMarcus Cousins Before Deadline
We still have another month and a half until the annual NBA trade deadline, but rumors are beginning to swirl around the league. By now just about every team knows where they stand and what their biggest obstacles are. The Los Angeles Lakers have the worst record (6-27) in the Western Conference at the moment, and many insiders feel they will make some moves in the upcoming weeks.
According to multiple reports, the Lakers could trade Jordan Clarkson this year. Clarkson has two years remaining on his deal, the rest of this year and next year which has a qualifying offer. If the Lakers keep Clarkson, that means he will be a restricted free agent after the 2016 season. It appears as if many teams have contacted the Lakers about acquiring Clarkson, possibly even the Memphis Grizzlies because of their lack of offense.
Clarkson has a good game, and we know that. He's not the next Kobe Bryant, but he does have the offensive skills that can help a team this year. Clarkson is still just 23 years old. This season Clarkson has arguably been the Lakers best offensive player, averaging 14.7 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the field. He has started every game he has played this season, but maybe a more limited role on a great team would be a nice change for Clarkson this season.
For the Lakers, this makes sense. Clarkson is a good player who hasn't had any issues off the court, and he has value. The Lakers could save a little cap space here while grabbing a draft pick or a bench player in return. That same report also brings forth another important factor: Kevin Durant. The Washington Wizards and Lakers are the front-runners to land the free agent-to-be this offseason. By trading away Clarkson, the Lakers would save some money that could possibly be used for Durant.
If the Lakers do decide to keep Clarkson, they will have to match an offer sheet made by another team next season.
And then, there's DeMarcus Cousins. It's well documented that the Sacramento Kings and Cousins don't exactly see eye-to-eye with each other. The Kings are just 12-20 this season and they have never made the playoffs with Cousins on the roster. As a matter of fact, the Kings have never even posted a 30-win season with Cousins. Clearly Cousins isn't the problem, but the fact remains that the Kings aren't benefiting from having him on the roster one bit.
According to ESPN, the Lakers have contacted the Kings about a deal involving Cousins in a potential three-way trade that would involve the Orlando Magic as well. Many believe Nick Young and Julius Randle could be used as trade bait for such a deal. Cousins is clearly one of the best centers in the NBA today. He has averaged over 20 points per game the last three seasons as well as double-digit rebounds per game in that span. Cousins is also a very good free throw shooter for a big man.
The Lakers salary cap space is opening up more and more every year. Bryant is in the final year of his contract in which the Lakers are spending $25 million. Once Bryant retires at the end of this season, the Lakers will be one of the busiest teams in the league.
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. ET.
Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1
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