Earl Clark, Cavaliers strike 2-year deal
The former Los Angeles Lakers forward Earl Clark visited the Cleveland Cavaliers over the last two days. However, Earl Clark will not be able to officially sign his contract until the conclusion of the NBA’s free agent negotiations period on July 10.
Although Earl Clark previously expressed an interest in re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers and the team would have liked to bring him back, due to a massive luxury tax looming for the upcoming season, they were unlikely to spend that kind of money on him this offseason.
Earl Clark was a bright spot on the Los Angeles Lakers roster last season after injuries (in particular to Pau Gasol) decimated the team’s forward depth and forced him into the starting lineup. He had one of his best campaigns with the Los Angeles Lakers, positing career-highs with 7.3 point, 5.5 rebounds and 23.1 minutes per game last season. Earl Clark started 36 of 56 games for the Los Angeles Lakers through the 2012-13 season.
The 25-year-old Earl Clark also showed an ability to shoot from the outside as well as from the 3-pointer range, although he did it somewhat inconsistently. Last season, Earl Clark attempted 104 3-pointers and sank 34 percent – after attempting just a combined 15 in the last three seasons. That combined with Earl Clark’s defensive agility should allow him to slide into the small forward slot with the Cleveland Cavaliers, after playing majority of his career as a power forward.
The Cleveland Cavaliers used the No.1 overall pick to draft Anthony Bennett this year. Although Anthony Bennett can play both forward spots, the Cleveland believe he will be a better fit at power forward, where he may back up resident starter Tristan Thompson for the next season. The Cleveland Cavaliers also have Tyler Zeller and Anderson Varejao in the front court. So, Earl Clark could be more suited to compete with for the starting small forward spot with Alonzo Gee, C.J. Miles, and Sergey Karasev, who was taken with the No,19 overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers last week.
Earl Clark will be also united with two of his former coaches in Cleveland this year. He briefly played under the Cleveland Cavaliers current head coach Mike Brown, before he was fired after just five games by the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Earl Clark also worked with Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Igor Kokoskov, who was an assistant with the Phoenix Suns when Clark began his NBA career there.
The Louisville standout Earl Clark is now joining his fourth team before the start of his fifth NBA season. The former 14th overall pick also previously played for the Orlando Magic, before he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the four-team Dwight Howard deal last summer.