Jordan Clarkson

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Gobert, Alexander-Walker, Clarkson

The market for Damian Lillard would have been limited even without his insistence on playing for the Heat, Sean Deveney writes in a Forbes article. Two months have passed since Lillard asked the Trail Blazers for a trade, and an unidentified executive tells Deveney that not many teams would have pursued Lillard regardless of his preference.

“I don’t think anyone likes the idea of Dame coming in and forcing the Blazers’ hand like this, forcing them to take a deal from a team that does not have the assets,” the executive said. “That’s a bad precedent, and it is one we are seeing too much of. But if Dame had not said, ‘Miami or nothing,’ where else was Portland really going to go for a deal? Maybe Brooklyn? But where else? There’s not that many teams that are going to give you a bunch of players and picks for a 33-year-old who can’t stay healthy and has a giant contract sitting there.”

Lillard will make about $215MM over the next four years, including a two-year extension he signed last summer that will pay him $58.5MM when he’s 35 and $63MM when he’s 36. There are also injury concerns after Lillard was shut down early the past two seasons.

The Heat are one of the few teams willing to absorb that deal, Deveney adds, and Lillard is a good fit with their other personnel, so Miami would have been a natural destination even if Lillard hadn’t mentioned the city.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • After a disappointing World Cup run with France, Rudy Gobert is looking forward to starting his second season with the Timberwolves, per Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. Gobert said there were a lot of adjustments to deal with last season, but he saw positive developments, even though it ended with a first-round playoff ouster. “We didn’t go as far as we wanted to go but we were resilient,” he said. “We had a lot of injuries and a lot of things that didn’t go our way. But we kept fighting. I liked the mindset that we had. Especially in the playoffs.”
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker is looking forward to having stability when he reports to Timberwolves camp, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Alexander-Walker has been traded three times in his four-year career, but he signed a two-year, $9MM contract with Minnesota this summer.
  • After scoring 34 points as the Philippines closed out World Cup play with a win over China, Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson told fans in Manila that he plans to continue playing for the national team, BasketNews relays. “I do not think this was my last performance with this jersey,” Clarkson said. “I have more time, and I still can hoop.”

World Cup Notes: Australia, Africa, Clarkson, Vucevic

Australia is facing a must-win situation to stay alive for a World Cup medal, writes Olgun Uluc of ESPN. Sunday’s loss to Germany means the Boomers will have to get by host Japan on Tuesday to advance past the first round of pool play. It’s an unexpected position for a nation with numerous NBA players on its roster, and coach Brian Goorjian called out his team for a lack of focus.

“When I’m hard like that, is when the effort, the controllable stuff is off,” Goorjian said. “I just thought the first five minutes of the game, we had two or three guys on the floor asleep. Off defensively, rebounds, the schemes were a step off. I just needed that timeout to use my voice. Again, that’s really the only time I go off. It’s been very rare; I think that’s the first time since I’ve had them this year that I’ve had to do that.”

Goorjian may need to consider a lineup change to boost the team, Uluc adds. Josh Giddey has taken over as the play-maker, but he needs to be surrounded by outside shooters. Matisse Thybulle and Nick Kay haven’t been able to fill that role, allowing opponents to pack the paint. Uluc notes that Goorjian has considered starting Josh Green at forward, which may be necessary to change Australia’s fortunes.

There’s more from the World Cup:

  • Monday was a historic day for African basketball as two nations picked up their first-ever World Cup victories, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. South Sudan defeated China and Cape Verde topped Venezuela, leaving both teams in contention for second-round berths and a possible spot in next year’s Olympics. “I’m still speechless,” Cape Verde’s Will Tavares said. “I feel like I’m in a dream right now, but the win was so big for us and our country and our families. We made a statement. Even though we’re the smallest country, we have so much heart.”
  • The Philippines is 0-2 with losses to the Dominican Republic and Angola, but Jordan Clarkson tells Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops that he’s grateful for the enthusiastic response from the Manila crowd. “It was fun, it was definitely amazing,” he said. “The turnout and the support were great. For us, being the host city is definitely felt. A lot of our games will be loud and packed out: we looking forward to those.”
  • In a Sportando interview, Nikola Vucevic says Montenegro feels like a legitimate contender after defeating Mexico and Egypt in its first two games.

World Cup Notes: Latvia, Japan, Philippines, China, Australia

The Latvian Basketball Association has officially announced the national team’s 12-man roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup (Twitter link).

Thunder forward Davis Bertans is the only active NBA player on Latvia’s roster, but the team features a handful of former NBAers, including Bertans’ brother Dairis Bertans. Former Nets forward Rodions Kurucs and ex-Wizards big man Anzejs Pasecniks are the other Latvians with NBA experience.

Here are a few more notes on the 2023 World Cup:

  • Japan and the Philippines, two of the host nations of the World Cup, have announced their 12-man rosters for the event. Suns forward Yuta Watanabe is the only NBA player representing Japan in this year’s tournament, while Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson is the lone NBA player for the Philippines (Twitter link). Young center Kai Sotto, who committed to the G League Ignite in 2020 and has spent the past two seasons in Australia, is also suiting up for the Philippines.
  • China and Australia are among the other national teams to finalize their 12-man World Cup squads. There are no surprises in either case — while Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson is China’s only NBA player (Twitter link), the Boomers have nine active NBAers on a loaded roster that includes up-and-comers like Thunder guard Josh Giddey and Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels (link via
  • A panel of ESPN’s basketball writers, including Brian Windhorst, has previewed the 2023 World Cup and made predictions for the event. South Sudan is a popular sleeper pick to make it to the knockout round and potentially earn an Olympic berth, but Team USA is widely expected to win the tournament — France was the only other team to receive a single vote.

World Cup Notes: Green, Brazil, Naturalized Players, U.S. Coaches

Mavericks guard Josh Green, who sat out Australia’s final World Cup tune-up game on Tuesday due to a minor ankle injury, is considered healthy and available for the Boomers’ World Cup opener on Friday, per Basketball Australia (Twitter link via Olgun Uluc of ESPN).

Green, who is eligible for a rookie scale extension with Dallas this offseason, is expected to play a key role for an Australian squad looking to improve upon its fourth-place finish at the 2019 World Cup.

Here are a few more notes on the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which tips off this Friday:

  • The Brazilian national team has officially announced its 12-man roster for the World Cup (Twitter link). While no current NBA players are on the roster, former NBAers like Raul Neto, Bruno Caboclo, and Cristiano Felicio will be representing the Brazilians.
  • FIBA is permitting each national team to have one “naturalized” player on its roster for the 2023 World Cup, prompting Meliksah Bayrav of Eurohoops to highlight some of the notable players who fall into this group, including Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (Philippines) and Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (China).
  • As Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes, it’s not just the players who are asked to accept lesser roles than they’re accustomed to when they join Team USA. Vardon takes an in-depth look at a talented U.S. coaching staff under Steve Kerr, noting that accomplished title-winning head coaches like Erik Spoelstra and Tyronn Lue have happily performed the “grunt work” expected of assistants during the lead-up to the World Cup.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Hagans, Jazz, Snyder

Damian Lillard is staying focused on business as he waits to learn where he’ll be reporting to training camp in six weeks, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. It’s been nearly two months since Lillard asked the Trail Blazers for a trade, preferably to Miami, but the market has remained quiet throughout the summer.

“Mentally, I’m strong,” Lillard said Friday at his Formula Zero elite basketball camp in Phoenix. “I think the last year and some change in my life overall, it’s not even just sports, it’s been a tough time, but right now, I’m in a strong place. Anytime I can come be in this environment. Like I said, it’s a lot of my loved ones that are here doing what we do at this camp, pouring into people, that brings me joy. That’s something that lifts me up so to be here is helpful.”

Lillard is coming off his best statistical year, averaging 32.2 PPG in 58 games before being shut down late in the season. He’s devoted much of the summer to traveling and family time, but he’s also preparing to help the Blazers, Heat or any other team he winds up with.

“I’ve had a great summer of training,” Lillard said. “I do a lot of things now to pour into myself and lift myself up and it’s been really helpful. So I would say I’m in a very strong place. My process has been the same going into the season that it’s been any other time except I’m just getting better as a man. I think that really helps me as far as my career goes. Anytime I can be improving myself as a man, it’s going to be positive for me.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Ashton Hagansagreement with the Trail Blazers will be an Exhibit 10 deal, tweets Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report. Haynes reported on Friday that the 24-year-old point guard is expected to join Portland for training camp.
  • The Jazz may not have a set rotation at point guard until well into the season, suggests Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Kris Dunn, Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker and Keyonte George will all compete for time at the position, and Jordan Clarkson and Ochai Agbaji may run the offense occasionally as well. Todd suggests that Dunn may be the favorite to start if he plays as well as he did last season, but the trade market could factor into playing time decisions.
  • In a separate story, Todd looks at highlights of the Jazz schedule, including Hawks head coach Quin Snyder returning to Utah for the first time on March 15.

Jazz Notes: Point Guard, Streaming, Fontecchio

While most of the Jazz‘s starting five is known, there’s still a bit of mystery surrounding who will take the reins of the starting point spot. Tony Jones of The Athletic breaks down five options Utah has at the spot, including Kris Dunn, Talen Horton-Tucker, Jordan Clarkson (if he doesn’t start at shooting guard), Collin Sexton and Keyonte George.

There are pros and cons to every option. Horton-Tucker offers the physicality and athletic tools that Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler and John Collins do, but he’s still raw at playing the point. Clarkson allows Utah to play with its lineup options but gives the team just one ball-handler in its starting lineup and affects their point-of-attack defense. Jones believes that Dunn’s ability to defend and willingness to defer make him the most natural option to start at point guard.

I recommend reading the piece in full, as Jones provides in-depth insight for each option. Regardless of who ends up taking over the 2023/24 starting spot, Jones says that George could very well be the starting point guard of the future.

There’s more Utah:

  • The Jazz announced they have partnered with technology company Kiswe to begin a streaming service that will be available to fans as soon as this upcoming season, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News reports. According to Todd, the price point and release date will be revealed in late September, right around when the product goes on sale. This is the latest in a flurry of moves by Jazz owner Ryan Smith in making games more accessible to fans. For example, the team announced in June that Smith Entertainment Group, the parent company of the Jazz, was partnering with KJZZ to bring games to television again.
  • Jazz forward Simone Fontecchio is suiting up for Italy in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Italy has gotten off to a hot start in their prep games, with Fontecchio scoring 17 points against Greece. In a recent interview with Eurohoops, Fontecchio spoke about his team’s current success. “We want to do our best and play well,” Fontecchio said, “You need to be lucky, to arrive in the perfect condition and play one game at a time. We have a good group.
  • In case you missed it, the Jazz are projected to have the third-most cap space in the 2024 offseason, with Spotrac contributor Keith Smith projecting Utah to have $41.6MM in space, behind the Spurs and Magic.

Contract Details: Brooks, Bane, DiVincenzo, Ball, Clarkson

Dillon Brooks will receive even more money from the Rockets, thanks to their complex five-team sign-and-trade, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Brooks’ four-year, front-loaded contract agreement with Houston was originally reported to be worth $80MM. He’ll now receive at least $86MM through the life of the contract and can reach $90MM if he reaches certain incentives.

The sign-and-trade involving Memphis, Houston, and three other teams was finalized on Saturday.

The four guaranteed years are spread out in this fashion: $22.6MM next season; $22.3MM on 2024/25; $21.1MM in 2025/26; and $20MM in 2026/27, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

We have more contract-related news:

  • The five-year rookie scale extension that the Grizzlies gave Desmond Bane isn’t quite a max contract because it includes some incentives. Bane will receive $197.2MM in guaranteed money and can make an additional $8.7MM if he reaches certain incentives, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets.
  • Unlike Brooks, Donte DiVincenzo‘s four-year contract with the Knicks includes typical raises. He’ll receive $10.9MM next season; $11.4MM in 2024-25; $12MM in 2025-26; and $12.5MM in 2026/27, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. The contract, which is guaranteed for $47MM, also includes $750K per year in unlikely bonuses, including Defensive Player of the Year, Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man of the Year and All-NBA.
  • LaMelo Ball‘s five-year max designated rookie extension with the Hornets doesn’t include a player option, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. The pact does, however, feature a 15% trade kicker.
  • Jordan Clarkson renegotiation and extension deal with the Jazz begins with a salary of $23.5MM for next season, MacMahon tweets. It drops down to $14.1MM in 2024/25 and inches up to $14.3MM for the 2025/26 season. The contract also has $1.1MM in incentives.

Jazz Renegotiate, Extend Jordan Clarkson’s Contract

JULY 7: Clarkson’s renegotiated and extended contract is now official, per the Jazz.

JULY 2: After picking up his 2023/24 option last week to remain in Utah, Jordan Clarkson will commit to the team for a couple more seasons, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Clarkson and the Jazz are finalizing a renegotiation and extension that will give him a raise in 2023/24 and will add two new years to his current contract, his agents at Klutch Sports tell Charania.

The deal will be worth $55MM, Charania adds. Based on the wording of his report, it’s unclear if that $55MM is all new money or if it includes Clarkson’s preexisting $14.3MM salary for 2023/24 — I’d assume the latter unless we hear otherwise, since agents leaking word of an agreement typically frame it in the most flattering light.

As we outlined on Saturday when Domantas Sabonis completed a similar deal with the Kings, contract renegotiations in the NBA are rare, since they can only be completed when a team has cap space and intends to increase a player’s salary rather than reducing it. Like Sacramento with Sabonis, Utah has the cap room necessary to give Clarkson’s current-year salary a bump and negotiate an extension off that new cap hit.

Interestingly, without a renegotiation, the maximum two-year extension Utah could give Clarkson would be worth about $41.5MM — when added to his current $14.3MM salary, that would also work out to just over $55MM.

By forgoing a traditional ascending extension structure and renegotiating his current-year salary to give him an immediate raise, the Jazz may end up paying the veteran guard the same amount of money overall while applying more of it to the 2023/24 cap in order to maximize future flexibility. An extension signed signed as part of a renegotiation can decline by as much as 40% in the first season.

Clarkson, 31, entered Utah’s starting lineup in 2022/23 after coming off the bench as a microwave scorer for most of his nine-year NBA career. In 61 games (32.6 MPG) in 2022/23, he averaged 20.8 points, 4.4 assists, and 4.0 rebounds with a shooting line of .444/.338/.816.

The Jazz, who are acquiring John Collins into their cap room in a trade with Atlanta, still projected to have nearly $15MM in cap room available after completing that deal, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Whether or not they have more room to operate after the Clarkson renegotiation will depend on how much money they add to his 2023/24 salary, as well as the team’s plans for players on non-guaranteed contracts like Luka Samanic and Vernon Carey.

Clarkson is the third player to agree to renegotiate his contract in 2023, joining Sabonis and Pacers center Myles Turner. Prior to Turner, no player had renegotiated a deal since Robert Covington in 2017.

Jazz In Extension Talks With Jordan Clarkson

Jordan Clarkson is discussing a three-year extension with the Jazz, sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link). The new deal could pay him close to $18MM per year, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

On Thursday, Clarkson chose to bypass free agency by picking up his $14.26MM player option for next season. That made him immediately eligible for an extension, which will be worth more once the new CBA takes effect on Saturday and allows veterans to receive 140% of their current salary in the first year of an extension rather than the current 120%.

Utah could also use some of its projected cap room to give Clarkson a higher base salary in the first year of the deal.

The 31-year-old guard set career highs in several categories this season, averaging 20.8 points, 4.4 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 61 games. He has been with the Jazz since being acquired from Cleveland in 2019.

Rockets Rumors: Free Agents, Martin, Clarkson, Capela

Rockets officials hope to meet with several of their top targets in Los Angeles when free agency begins in a few hours, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Sources tell Iko that Houston has already set up meetings with Dillon Brooks and Brook Lopez and will try to arrange sessions with Fred VanVleet, Kyrie Irving, Bruce Brown, Dwight PowellJakob Poeltl and possibly Kyle Kuzma.

Brown is of particular interest because the Rockets would be willing to go above the $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign him, according to Iko’s sources. Head coach Ime Udoka was an assistant in Brooklyn when Brown played there and they have maintained a good relationship, Iko adds.

With more than $60MM in cap space, Houston officials are confident about signing their main targets, according to Iko, although some may prefer teams with more recent success. He confirms that the Rockets are hoping to avoid long-term contracts and will compensate by offering players more money up front than they’re likely to get elsewhere. Shooting, defense and rim protection will be the main focus, Iko states.

There’s more on the Rockets, all courtesy of Iko:

  • Houston is hoping to land a veteran point guard in free agency, but there’s a back-up plan if they can’t sign VanVleet, Irving or someone of that stature. Sources tell Iko that the Rockets would pursue someone like Brown, a strong perimeter defender who can handle the ball, and give Jalen Green and first-round pick Amen Thompson a greater share of the playmaking duties.
  • Iko hears that a Kenyon Martin Jr. trade is increasingly likely, as talks with other teams have increased throughout the week. Martin may not have a place on the revamped roster, and the team could add cap room by unloading his $1.93MM contract for next season.
  • Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson and Hawks center Clint Capela are two names to watch if the Rockets opt to use their cap space through trades rather than free agency. Iko notes that Utah executive Danny Ainge is reported to have interest in acquiring Martin and suggests that Houston might be willing to include second-year point guard TyTy Washington and maybe a second-round pick in a potential deal. Iko points out that Clarkson is eligible for an extension after picking up his $14.26MM option for next season and says the Rockets may offer something along the lines of $32MM over two years. Iko adds that Capela could be available straight up for Martin as Atlanta tries to shed salary.