The Phoenix Suns could be in the lottery after trading away their best player, but they are far from done looking for a solution.
In an effort to avoid the inevitable, they have traded their pick in the first round of next year’s draft to the Los Angeles Lakers for guard Jordan Clarkson, who the Suns hope will bolster their bench.
The Lakers will take Clarkson with the top pick in next year, while the Suns would take the second overall pick if they are still alive.
But what if the Suns don’t get Clarkson?
The Lakers are already looking for an answer for their bench, and there is no shortage of options.
They could move on from Kobe Bryant, or they could keep the young guard and hope the Lakers can build around him, as has happened with Julius Randle.
With the Lakers’ bench depleted, it’s unclear whether Clarkson will stay with the team.
His salary is $3.9 million next season, and it will be difficult to make the trade with Clarkson’s salary.
The Lakers have already made a few deals to try to improve their roster.
They signed guards Julius Randles and Julius Rand, along with the No. 3 overall pick from last season’s draft.
Randles is a big, athletic wing who can play both the center and power forward spots.
Randle’s contract is expiring next season and he’s unlikely to be re-signed, so he could be gone for next season.
The Los Angeles Clippers also have an injury-ravaged bench that needs some help.
The team has had injuries at the shooting guard spot, and their current point guard, Chris Paul, is set to become a free agent after this season.
He’s also not a lock to return.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said last week he would like to keep the veteran, but the team could decide to move on and try to get someone else.
The Suns are in a similar situation, and they could move up in the draft.
They have to move to make room for Clarkson and they would have to pay him at least $4.9-million next season in order to get him, though it is unlikely they could afford it.
It will take a trade to land Clarkson, and he could still end up on the Lakers roster.
He would be able to earn about $3 million this season, but he could make more.
Clarkson, though, could also end up with the Lakers, as he has averaged 17.6 points and 7.4 assists per game over his three seasons with the Suns.