Lakers Sign Clarkson, Deng, and Zubac
EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Jordan Clarkson, forward Luol Deng, and center Ivica Zubac, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not released.
“Jordan is an important piece of our young core and resigning him was a priority of our offseason,” said Kupchak. “He has displayed a tremendous work ethic over the last two seasons, and we expect him to continue to develop. Luol is a versatile defender as well as offensively talented and is a high character individual who will be invaluable mentoring our young players on the court and in the locker room. Ivica is a player we feel has a bright future in this league and we are excited to see him grow alongside our group of young players.”
Clarkson was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection in 2015 and was selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star 2016. In two seasons with the Lakers, Clarkson has averaged 14.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.0 steals over 138 games (117 starts), and finished second on the team in scoring last year, averaging 15.5 points per game.
Acquired from the Washington Wizards on the night of the 2014 NBA Draft, the 24-year-old scored double-figures in a career-best 27 consecutive games in 2015-16, and scored 20+ points on 20 occasions. He led the Lakers in scoring 16 times last season, and tied his career-high with a 30-point performance 11/3 vs. DEN.
A two-time NBA All-Star, 2012 NBA All-Defensive Second Team Selection, and member of the 2005 All-Rookie First Team, Deng comes to the Lakers after spending 12 seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Miami Heat. In 823 games (776 starts), Deng has averaged 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.0 steals in 35.3 minutes per game, and has made the playoffs seven times. After spending one season at Duke University, Deng was drafted seventh overall in the 2004 NBA Draft.
Off the court, the South Sudan native was honored with the NBA’s 2014 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, given to the player who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community, and was the 2007 winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award, selected by his peers as the player who best exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.
Zubac (pronounced EE-vits-uh ZOO-bahtz) was selected by the Lakers with the 32nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, one of a record-setting 26 international players drafted. The 19-year-old played in the Adriatic League and FIBA Euro Cup for Cibona Zagreb last season before joining Mega Leks, where he averaged 10.9 points and 5.1 rebounds as the team made the Serbian League semi-finals.
Born in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but a naturalized Croatian, the 7’1’’ center helped the Croatian U-19 team capture the silver medal at the 2015 World Championships, finishing third in the tournament in scoring with 17.9 points per game and seventh in rebounding (7.9). That same summer, he participated with the Croatian U-18 team at the 2015 European Championships, leading the tournament in rebounds per game (12.9), blocks (3.0), and double-doubles (six), and finished eighth in scoring (15.8).