Earl Clark was the second threat on the Los Angeles Lakers behind Kobe Bryant last season. Clearly that wasn't the plan but with Steve Nash hurt most of the season, Pau Gasol struggling with his role and injuries of his own and Dwight Howard recovering from back surgery Clark stepped up. The Lakers would be crazy to allow Clark to leave Los Angeles but if they do the Knicks should pounce on him in free agency.
Earl Clark’s value is unknown. Clearly his play last season helped his stock rise but he's likely still a relatively inexpensive talent that a team like the New York Knicks with very little spending money should be paying attention to. Clark is a 6'10.25", 228 pound forward from Rahway, New Jersey. He's 25 years old and was drafted 14th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2009 NBA Draft.
He played for the Suns from 2009-10, the Orlando Magic from 2010-12 and the Los Angeles Lakers since 2012. Clark can play either forward position and has even slid down to the center position when asked. depending on the matchup. If Glen Grunwald can get Clark signed to a cheap contract he could be a very good value signing for the team.
Clark is a bit stuck between forward positions and tends to be a perimeter oriented player. His athleticism allows him to create mismatches. Clark brings a lot to the table but has been slow to develop at the NBA level. However, he seemed to finally come in to his own this last season with the Lakers.
Clark as an above average defender. He thrives defending perimeter shots, mid-range jumpers and corner threes because of his length. He's also an excellent defensive rebounder and shot blocker.
On offense, Clark has struggled finishing around the rim and hasn't drawn many fouls as an NBA player. However, he has a good spot-up mid-range jump shot and is an excellent offensive rebounder. That being said, he needs to improve his dribbling skills and his passing ability. Clark also thrives at running the floor.
Clark's a player with the ability to make plays on both ends of the court without having the ball in his hands. That's something all coaches love. The fact that his game seems to be coming into its own and that he's a defensively oriented player could make him an attractive target for the Knicks in free agency.
That being said, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports Clark would like to remain with the Lakers.
"I want to be a Laker," he said Monday. "I had a lot of fun this season. It’s the first season I got an opportunity to play and just show people, the world, what I can do. I hope everything works out and I come back. I definitely don’t want to leave here being on one of the worst Laker teams in history. I don't want to be a part of that."
However, the fact is that even without re-signing Dwight Howard the Lakers will be well over the cap. Perhaps the Knicks can lure Clark back to the East Coast for the chance to play close to his home town and for a bit of a raise. He only made $1.2 million last season with Los Angeles. For a bit of a raise and for the chance to play in Madison Square Garden perhaps Glen Grunwald could add Clark to the Knicks roster.
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