Jordan Clarkson, Cleveland Cavaliers To Part Ways Next Season?

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards
Feb 8, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson (8) dribbles as Washington Wizards forward Wesley Johnson (4) defends during the second quarter at Capital One Arena. (Photo: Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

Jordan Clarkson has been the most consistent player for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. Despite coming off the bench and despite a plethora of budding stars, Clarkson remains the Cavaliers most important player. However, the question is whether Clarkson would be a part of the Cavs future.

Clarkson, a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2015, has played in 60 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. As the team's sixth man, the Missouri product has averaged 17 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists in 26.9 minutes of action. He ranks second in team scoring (only behind the former All-Star Kevin Love - 17.8 points in 9 games), and fourth overall in the NBA for bench players (behind Lou Williams, Derrick Rose, and Spencer Dinwiddie).

His stats alone should have been enough for the Cleveland Cavaliers to keep Jordan Clarkson moving forward. The Cavaliers, currently in languishing in the 14th spot in the Eastern Conference and sitting with a 14-47 win-loss record, are in a full-rebuilding mode and would need a lot of assets to hasten the process. And then there's Clarkson's expiring contract next year. Put two-and-two together and it would be clear that Clarkson's expiring contract would have a tremendous value in next year's trade deadline.

That is not to say that the Cavaliers aren't happy with Clarkson because the Cavs are reportedly very pleased with Clarkson's scoring. It's just that the Cavaliers are going to need the assets that could be acquired in exchange for Clarkson's expiring contract. Conversely, the Cavaliers may also opt to keep Clarkson since the Cavs front office likes Clarkson brings to the table.

If Clarkson stays with the team moving forward, it would be interesting to see if he'll be given a bigger role. Clarkson started all 79 games that he played in during his second season in the league. Clarkson averaged 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists as a starter for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2015-2016 season. That being said, it is clear that Clarkson could be productive whether he plays off the bench or is a starter.

Clarkson, who has an American father and a Filipina mother, also represents the Philippines in international competitions. Despite a lack of preparation, the combo-guard led the Philippine national basketball team to a fifth-place finish in the 2018 Asian Games. It was the best result for the Philippines in the past 16 years.

Despite being the focal point of the opposing team's defensive schemes, Clarkson managed to average 26 points, 5.5 assists 26 points, 6.5 boards, 5.5 assists, 1.0 steal, and only 0.7 turnovers during the 2018 Asian Games. While the talent gap between the Asian Games and the NBA are worlds apart, the fact that Clarkson performed above the wildest expectations of Filipino fans revealed one fundamental trait about the Missouri product: he can contribute in whatever role that is needed of him.

While the 26-year-old is often described as a streaky player, Clarkson's toughness, quickness, unselfishness, decision-making, and overall impact on the court makes him one of the most intriguing players in the league. That being said, it should be a win-win scenario for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whether the Cavs decide to trade Clarkson in exchange for future assets or sign him to a long-term deal, the Cavs know they'll be getting the most out of Jordan Clarkson.

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