Earl Clark Rumors: Breaking Down Potential Los Angeles Lakers Impact

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2014

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 10: Earl Clark #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 10, 2013 at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cameron Browne/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are searching for some options to solidify a roster that's been crushed by injury woes in the early going. It sounds like a familiar face in the form of Earl Clark might be the first reinforcement to arrive.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports the Lakers are looking to sign Clark out of the D-League, where he was playing for the Houston Rockets' affiliate. He also notes the forward would be getting a deal to cover the rest of the season:

Clark has averaged 29 points per game for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League, and the eventual finalization of a deal could bring Clark back to the Lakers in the next few days, sources said.

His scoring average is good enough to rank third in the league behind Brady Heslip and Manny Harris. The Louisville product has also averaged better than seven rebounds and three blocks in four games at the development level.

Clark played for the Lakers during the 2012-13 campaign. He appeared in 59 games, starting 36, and averaged seven points while shooting 44 percent from the field. Offensive woes have prevented him from making a bigger impact in the NBA with a career shooting percentage of 40 in 251 contests.

He's connected on 45 percent of his shots during the hot start with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Whether he can carry that over to provide the Lakers with some valuable minutes is a question mark.

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What Clark does bring to the table is a player who can play both forward positions and stretch the floor offensively. Jory Dreher of Laker Nation thinks that's the main reason they are likely bringing him in:

Jory Dreher @JDreherLN

It doesn't surprise me to see the Lakers bring back Earl Clark. He had his best year there, and he can spread the floor.

He could be in line for some serious minutes, at least for awhile. Julius Randle is out for the season due to a leg injury and Ryan Kelly is currently sidelined with a hamstring issue. Add in a banged-up Carlos Boozer, who's trying to overcome a shoulder problem, and the Lakers need healthy bodies up front.

Ed Davis has filled in admirably alongside Jordan Hill. Robert Sacre has also been serviceable in limited minutes. But Clark would give Los Angeles a different type of player at the power forward spot to help stretch defenses, and the fact he's been with the organization before helps.

Back in July, when he was looking for a landing spot, Clark talked with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders about his previous stint with the team:

When I was with the Lakers, I got the opportunity to get out there and play some big minutes–I didn't have to look at the bench every possession to see if I was coming out. It was the first time where I felt good, where I was comfortable playing basketball again. That's something that I'm looking for.

Although he probably won't get as much run as he did the last time around, it's still a golden opportunity. A chance to prove his lackluster stays with the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks aren't representative of what he can provide to a rotation.

Clark isn't going to turn the Lakers—who currently rank 18th in offensive efficiency, according to ESPN—into a juggernaut on that end of the floor. Instead, he'll just provide a little more balance to a team that can't really be too picky given the options at this stage.

All told, it's a signing that makes sense. Now the wait is on until it becomes official barring any late setbacks in the process.


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