Jordan Clarkson said he wants to re-sign with the Lakers in restricted free agency this summer and continue to develop alongside D’Angelo Russell, confident that they can become one of the league’s best backcourts some day, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News relays. The Lakers largely have control over Clarkson anyway, since he’s subject to the Gilbert Arenas Provision, as I detailed earlier this season, but his enthusiasm is an encouraging sign for the team, especially after Clarkson and Russell outplayed Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Sunday’s colossal upset of the Warriors.
“I don’t think early in the season they knew how to play with each other,” coach Byron Scott said. “They both were trying to find their way and neither one was deferring to one another. They both were just trying to figure it out. Now they’re figuring it out and having some success.”
The improved cohesion is coming as Scott has given them more time together since the All-Star break, Medina observes. See more on the Lakers:
- The Lakers are prioritizing the development of Clarkson, Russell and the rest of their young players over any effort to retain their top-three protected first-round pick, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). They’re well-positioned to go into the second lottery slot, as our reverse standings show.
- Metta World Peace hasn’t minded his inconsistent role this year for the Lakers and still plans to continue as an NBA player beyond the season, as Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times examines. World Peace is on a one-year contract. “I still want to get in the playoffs again. I want to do a couple more years,” World Peace said. “This year I didn’t play much so I kind of saved myself. I’m going to come back next year strong.”
- Marcelo Huertas, also on a one-year deal, has struggled in his transition to the NBA this season, but his sterling performance against the Warriors showed value that Russell thinks has existed all along, Medina relays. “A lot of people try to give him a lot of crap. But that man is good,” Russell said. “They don’t see what we see in practice every day.”