Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson has the potential to become a key facet of the team’s attempt to rebuild over the next few years. However, the fact that he has only one more year to go on his contract puts into question his status as a potential core player for the team.
Among the questions asked by fans to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com was one concerning why Clarkson was not among those listed as core players for the team. Fedor responded that it was due to the fact that the veteran’s expiring deal next season makes him a candidate to be traded by next February:
“Given his age, talent level, experience and contract, he will be one of the team’s most valuable trade chips. He’s currently the second-leading scorer on the team and NBA’s third-leading scorer among reserves. Next year, the Cavs will have to determine if the value they can return for him in a trade outweighs what he brings on the court. They will also have to figure out if he’s the kind of player worth committing to for the long haul, as the (Los Angeles) Lakers immediately had buyer’s remorse after giving him a lucrative contract.
“If the Cavs find the right deal, they will move him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. If they were to re-sign him prior to the season, as you suggest, the Cavs would lose a trade asset.”
Prior to this year’s trade deadline earlier this month, the Cavaliers dealt Alec Burks, who will be a free agent in July. They managed to acquire a first-round pick from the Houston Rockets as part of a three-team deal.
The fact that Clarkson is considered to be a better player than Burks makes a potential return for the Cavaliers in any trade of Clarkson potentially higher than what they just received.
Clarkson’s status with the team next season will likely depend on how the Cavaliers are faring. This season, he’s averaging 17.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, with his scoring production marking a career-high.
His next opportunity to improve on those numbers will come Thursday night against the New York Knicks.