Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers' front office are preparing for a big summer, headlined by drafting the No. 2 pick on June 22.
There's plenty of work to be done on this Lakers team after they won just 26 games last season. Magic is aware of this, re-joining the Lakers as president of basketball operations to help lift them out of the dark cloud they've been stuck in for years.
Johnson's been clear that everything is on the table for the Lakers as they move toward a brighter future, which means the roster could look every different when they get back to hooping next season. That might mean some of their young talent is on the way out as they rebuild.
The Lakers are heavily linked to drafting either Lonzo Ball out of UCLA or De'Aaron Fox out of Kentucky with the No. 2 pick, two of the top guard prospects entering the NBA. That could leave their roster with a bit of a logjam in the backcourt.
Perhaps that's why rumors are already flying that the Lakers are exploring trade options for one of the first young talents they drafted to begin their youth movement in Jordan Clarkson, according to Jordan Schultz of The Huffington Post.
This follows up a report from Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders that the Lakers had become "increasingly open-minded" to trading Clarkson this summer, perhaps as soon as the draft. Whether the rumor has serious legs to it is unknown, but signs point to some fire where this smoke is coming from.
The Lakers have gathered a solid core of young talent, but with the potential of a new No. 2 pick in the backcourt, Clarkson becomes the most expendable piece they're building with in the present. The soon-to-be 25-year-old guard could fetch the Lakers a reasonable return.
Part of Clarkson's value is that he's under contract for the next three seasons at a reasonable rate, so long as he doesn't regress any time soon. With no worries about having to deal with his contract any time soon, Jordan has real value on the trade market.
The Lakers could package him with one of their bad contracts (Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov), use him as part of a draft day deal, address roster issues elsewhere with the return they're seeking or any number of things. LA also has the 28th overall pick in the draft to go with No. 2, which could make for an enticing trade package.
Trade rumors are always hot around this time of the season, but this latest Lakers rumor makes sense. Johnson has gone on record that Brandon Ingram is the only untouchable player on the roster, which means someone like Clarkson is definitely in play in trade discussions.