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    Wednesday, 2 August 2017

    Luke Walton, Magic Johnson

    The Los Angeles Lakers have positioned themselves to be major players in the 2018 free-agent market, but they're not quite where they need to be just yet.
    As the team pursues stars like Paul George, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and DeMarcus Cousins, there is still some work to be done to create the salary cap room necessary to sign two of those big-name players.
    Unfortunately for some players currently on the roster, that means they'll hear their names come up in plenty of trade rumors during the 2017-18 season, with a couple of them likely to be dealt before the February trade deadline.
    One name that has come up as a potential trade candidate is guard Jordan Clarkson, who Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report says is someone the Lakers would be very willing to trade to create cap space:
    "One person within the organization who isn't permitted to speak publicly on the subject told Bleacher Report the team is confident it can move Clarkson if needed to open space," Pincus writes.
    "The Lakers, sans Clarkson, project to have about $59.4 million, which is close to the numbers needed for George and Cousins together but not quite there to land one with either James or Westbrook."
    Of course, the Lakers will try everything possible to get out from under Luol Deng's remaining three-year, $54-million contract, but that may prove nearly impossible, so team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka may have to get creative.
    Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Hornets
    There should be a decent market for Clarkson, who averaged 14.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 29.2 minutes per game last year while appearing in all 82 contests for the Lakers.
    It also won't hurt Clarkson's value that the Lakers will likely be desperate to move him and wouldn't be looking for much in return.
    Of course, the Lakers' lofty rebuilding plan could collapse on itself and turn into a disaster if the team fails to land more than one of the big-name free agents mentioned above.
    Charlotte Hornets v Los Angeles Lakers
    However, Pelinka recently told the Orange County Register that the Lakers will do whatever it takes to land at least one, if not two, max-contract players next summer:
    “We need two superstar players to come here, to join this platform and join our core group of great players we now have,” Pelinka said. “That’s our plan and we’re going to put all of our energy and all of our hard work toward that.”
    Whatever ends up happening next summer, this season will be an interesting one for the Los Angeles front office, as several big decisions are looming on the horizon.

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