As it seems to be the case every year, the Los Angeles Lakers were linked with a few high-profile free agents and superstars this offseason, with names such as Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and of course Paul George, who was heavily linked with the Lakers before his eventual trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Obviously, LA didn’t manage to snag any of those players this offseason, opting to trade away PG D’Angelo Russell and C Timofey Mozgov in favor of Brook Lopez, as well as drafting Lonzo Ball and signing shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but recent rumors suggest the Lakers were extremely close to trading away a portion of their future to acquire Paul George in June.
Via the Orange County Register:
“First, the move that did not happen: in June, the Lakers offered Clarkson or fourth-year forward Julius Randle and their No. 27 and 28 picks to Indiana for Paul George. The Pacers declined before trading him to Oklahoma City for guard Victor Oladipo and center Domantas Sabonis.”
Clarkson recently held a basketball camp in Los Angeles, and was asked about the rumor:
“The only thing I can worry about in terms of stuff like that and trade rumors is myself and continue to work,” Clarkson said. “If I were to be traded, I just have to be ready to play. But I’m here in L.A. and am ready for the season. I’m excited.”
Jordan Clarkson, the consummate professional.
As you can see, the Lakers were willing to go all in on George to grab him a year earlier than expected, offering Indiana either Jordan Clarkson or Julius Randle, as well as two late-first round picks. The Pacers, for whatever reason, decided to decline the offer, opting to pounce on the eventual deal with the Thunder.
For now though, Clarkson will be staying in the purple and gold, most likely coming off the bench as the Lakers’ sixth man, as both Ball and Caldwell-Pope will be starting in front of him. And Clarkson is perfectly okay with that it seems.
“My role changes a little bit,” Clarkson said. “But it’s about getting prepared for the season. We’re looking to have a good one.”
So good that Clarkson said “the main goal is to make the postseason.”
“That’s definitely something we’re shooting for,” Clarkson said. “It’s tough in the West, but I think we have an opportunity and a chance to build and come together to make something special here.”