9:08am: The sides are working toward what would be a one-year deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
9:03am: The Lakers and Earl Clark have engaged in a “level of dialogue” about a possible deal, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. The five-year veteran’s name wasn’t among the several who were linked to the club last week, but the Lakers know him well, since he enjoyed a career year in purple-and-gold during the 2012/13 season.
Clark is averaging 28.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in 35.8 minutes per game across four appearances so far for the Rockets D-League affiliate this season. Houston briefly had him on its NBA roster after claiming his training camp deal off waivers from the Grizzlies, but the Rockets waived him before opening night. The Rockets reportedly have interest in Al Harrington, another forward whose game is somewhat similar, but there have been no reports indication that Houston is thinking about bringing Clark back to the big club.
The 26-year-old put up 5.3 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 12.5 MPG for Memphis during the preseason, failing to stick even though the Grizzlies began the regular season with an open roster spot. Clark’s career has hit the skids ever since he signed a two-year, $8.5MM deal with the Cavs in 2013, a pact that he and agent Kevin Bradbury were able to land in large measure because of the performance Clark delivered for the Lakers. He averaged 11.6 PPG and 9.2 RPG with 37.8% three-point shooting during a 22-game hot streak in the middle of his year with L.A., but he failed to match that production for Cleveland, which shipped him to the Sixers at the deadline last season. Philadelphia promptly waived him, and apart from a pair of 10-day contracts with the Knicks, Clark hasn’t appeared on a regular season roster since.
The Lakers recently received a nearly $4.851MM Disabled Player Exception for Steve Nash to go with the Disabled Player Exception worth almost $1.499MM that they have for Julius Randle, but it seems unlikely that it would take more than the minimum salary to sign Clark. The team has a full 15-man roster, though the Lakers have enough injured players to qualify for a 16th roster spot if they were to apply for one and the league were to grant it. Ronnie Price and Wayne Ellington, who have partially guaranteed deals for the minimum, are the only two Lakers without fully guaranteed contracts.