While the Warriors expect to retain their top free agents this summer, increasing team salary may cost the club some of its role players, including perhaps Ian Clark. Within a piece on Golden State’s Game 2 win, Shams Charania of The Vertical writes that NBA executives believe Clark could command a deal worth more than the mid-level exception as a free agent.
Clark saw regular minutes for the Warriors in 2016/17, averaging 14.8 MPG in 77 contests, and established new career highs in several categories, including PPG (6.8), FG% (.487), and 3PT% (.374). The shooting guard, who began in his career with the Jazz before spending time with Denver and now Golden State, is still young — he just turned 26 in March.
Although Clark has shown promise and could play a larger role on a team less stacked than the Warriors, projecting a salary worth more than the mid-level exception seems somewhat aggressive. With the NBA’s cap on the rise again and a new CBA set to take effect on July 1, the MLE will be worth $8.4MM in 2017/18. Clark is currently on a minimum salary deal, and has never averaged more 15 minutes per game in a season.
With Clark’s Early Bird rights in hand, the Warriors would have a certain level of flexibility to give him a raise when he reaches unrestricted free agency this summer. But with Stephen Curry in line for a substantial raise of his own, Kevin Durant likely to negotiate a new deal, and other role players like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Zaza Pachulia also on track for free agency, Clark may not be a top priority for the Dubs.