Lakers: Jordan Clarkson’s hot play will help the Lakers trade Julius Randle

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Lakers Rumors around potentially trading Julius Randle have been snowballing as the season transpires. One man that can help accomplish a deal is Jordan Clarkson.

Jordan Clarkson is one of the most talented members of the Los Angeles Lakers and is a key component in keeping the team afloat. Clarkson’s scoring off of the bench has kept the Lakers in most of their games. Against the Phoenix Suns, Clarkson scored 25 points in 26 minutes to lead the Lakers to a 100-93 victory.

Not only is Clarkson scoring, he is scoring at an efficient rate. Clarkson shot 11-19 from the court against the Suns and for the season is shooting at a 51.2% clip. This season Clarkson is averaging 15.5 points per game, the best on the team. In fact, Clarkson is one of the best scorers in the entire league.

Clarkson is averaging 34.8 points per 48 minutes, the same as Kevin Durant. That is the ninth-best mark in the league ahead of guys like Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin and Kyrie Irving. Clarkson has been great for the Lakers and has exponentially upped his trade value. Rumors circulated in the offseason that a Clarkson deal was imminent and now that may come to fruition.

Clarkson’s trade value is at an all-time high. Because of his $12.5 million average annual salary, it was hard for trade partners to go all in on Clarkson. Clarkson is a good player and all but he was never really viewed to be worth that much money.

However, now, his scoring and otherwise veteran leadership on a young team are only helping Clarkson and the Lakers. Clarkson gets the recognition he deserves and the Lakers finally get someone to package Julius Randle with.

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An imminent Randle trade has been looming since last season. These trade talks have come to life with Adrian Wojnarowski stating that Randle’s future with the Lakers is unlikely. Many point to Luol Deng and his massive contract, using Randle as a chess piece like D’Angelo Russell in that trade.

However, Julius Randle is not worth what Russell is. First of all, Russell is a significantly better player with a much higher ceiling. Second of all, Randle will be a restricted free agent following this season. Whatever team owns the rights to Randle must match any offer sheet Randle agrees upon to retain him.

However, if packaged with Clarkson, teams would not be worrying about picking up dead weight in Luol Deng and instead would look at the young package with optimism. Plus, instead of trading for an expiring deal like they did with Brook Lopez, the Lakers can trade for an established star to help lure in future stars such as Paul George.

George has stated that it would take multiple guys coming together for him to join the Lakers. So, Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson may have to work some trade wonders. Perhaps Kevin Love could be an option after this season, maybe it will be a superstar at the deadline on a sinking team.

Clarkson and Randle will now be the entire focus of the deal; regardless of what the package is and who they receive. Six months ago that was not possible.

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Thus, the Lakers should want Jordan Clarkson to keep up his hot play. Not just for the sake of the team winning, but for the trade value he then creates.