Free agent target No. 5: Jordan Clarkson, Guard
Our list begins to make a transition, from fringe rotation players to core targets in free agency. That starts with Jordan Clarkson, a player who saw a tremendous amount of success under Quin Snyder and could look for a reunion this summer.
Clarkson went from second-round pick to consistent producer with the Los Angeles Lakers to start his career, and then he was moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers during LeBron James’ final season there (so that the Lakers could clear cap space to sign LeBron the following summer; the NBA is wild). While his shotmaking was valuable in Cleveland, it wasn’t until his third stop that Clarkson truly thrived.
He arrived in Utah in 2020 and blossomed into the Sixth Man of the Year, averaging 18.4 points per game in 2020-21 while starting just a single game. He refined his on-ball scoring ability and bombed away from long-range. This year, with Donovan Mitchell gone, Clarkson stepped into the starting lineup and averaged 20.8 points per game, a career-high.
Clarkson will be looking for a payday this summer. As the roster stands now, there isn’t space for a player like Clarkson on the Atlanta Hawks. That spot could open up if the team trades Trae Young, however, and suddenly Clarkson’s skillset looks much more valuable alongside Dejounte Murray. It’s not a high-probability possibility, which is why he sits at No. 5 on this list, but the connection to Quin Snyder could make it happen if things play out a certain way.