In a word: absolutely. Earl Clark was the Lakers Shawn Marion. Even though Mike D’Antoni coached Marion, he appeared to have no idea how to best use Clark, yet more often than not Clark was an impact player on the floor. His versatility make him a must sign for Lakers management, regardless of Coach D’Antoni.
In a short span Jordan Hill made a big enough impression on management to earn a new contact. Considering Hill missed most of the year with an injury, Lakers management might be wary to pay for another forward even though their skill sets are so different.
Clark averaged career highs in Games played and started, minutes played, rebounds, points, field goals. . .You get the picture. Given the opportunity Earl Clark excelled. When first given the opportunity when Pau went down with injury, Clark burst onto the purple and gold scene with 34 points against San Antonio.
Clark could go somewhere else and earn a contract, but I would compare him to two Lakers guards who did not come back to the Lakers last year. Ramon Sessions opted for free agency rather than come back to the dysfunctional Lakers. He ended up a prominent player. . .in Charlotte. And Andrew Goudelock was not brought back by the Lakers. . .until just before the playoffs. He wound up being the NBA D League MVP. The similarity between all 3 is they had value. When Sessions was aggressive he was an impact player. Goudelock could flat out score. And Clark does all facets of the game well. He is an excellent rebounder and shooter and passer for his size, and he defends multiple positions.
The Lakers need a way to get better. But letting a player go who now has familiarity with what it takes to succeed personally in a Lakers uniform is not the answer.