Lakers: Jordan Clarkson should be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 19: Jordan Clarkson (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 19: Jordan Clarkson (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Jordan Clarkson has been one of the hottest topics in recent Lakers rumors. A trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers may make the most sense for the Lakers.

Jordan Clarkson is a great, young player that a lot of Laker fans admire. The versatile guard has been one of the lone highlights on the Lakers the last few seasons and has earned a pay-day because of it. Clarkson signed a four-year, $50 million deal prior to last season, making him the fourth highest paid player on the Lakers; the second highest on a non-expiring deal.

However, despite the fan base’s admiration for Clarkson, he is not worth that kind of money. Los Angeles is paying Clarkson an average of $12.5 million over the next three seasons. Again, he is a solid player, but he is not $12.5 million solid.

This had led to all of the Lakers rumors around Clarkson. Because of the team’s pursuit to bring in a superstar, cap space has become immensely important. Los Angeles already parted ways with Timofey Mozgov, Clarkson and Luol Deng seem to be next.

Clarkson, due to his youth and ability, should be the easiest to deal. Clarkson does not need to be packaged with another young talent and could be a part of a one-for-one swap. That one-for-one swap should be with the Cleveland Cavaliers for Iman Shumpert.

Reports indicate that Shumpert and the Cavaliers may want to cut ties with each other. As SB Nation writer Tim Cato puts it, the Cavs just acquired a better version of Shumpert in Jae Crowder.

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While the Cavaliers may not longer need Shumpert’s abilities, the Lakers could benefit greatly from it. Not only will Los Angeles be a better team with Shumpert’s “three and D” play style, he can help their pursuit to a superstar.

Shumpert is owed just over a million dollars less than Clarkson is per season. While that money is trivial, the important aspect about Shumpert’s contract is his player option next season. Shumpert has played in the shadow of LeBron James for two and a half seasons. If the Lakers let Shumpert know their intent to bring him in, Shumpert may just opt out.

That frees up $11 million in cap space for the Lakers to use towards another superstar. If the team gets rid of Luol Deng as well the Lakers would have somewhere around $75 million in cap space, enough for two stars.

Plus, Shumpert would help the Lakers this season just as much as Clarkson. While Clarkson may be the better all around player, Shumpert’s “three and D” style fits perfectly with what the Lakers need. Los Angeles is one of the worst defensive teams in the league and Lonzo Ball could benefit from Shumpert’s three-point shot.

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Overall, the Lakers would not be missing out on much by flipping Clarkson for Shumpert and would free up a great amount of cap space. As for the Cavs, they get a young talent to stock up on as the departure of LeBron James looms.