By Christian Tallara
LOS ANGELES - After enduring his team's 58th loss in 77 games this season, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson spoke briefly to reporters on Sunday at Staples Center and addressed his possible participation in the FIBA World Cup in China this summer.
"I don't know yet. Stay tuned, I hope," Clarkson told reporters inside the visitors' locker room.
Clarkson's reply did not exactly provide clarity to the lingering issue, but then again, his status in complicated.
The Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas (SBP) is still waiting for Fiba to green light his inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas roster a "local." No word yet as to when that verdict will be handed down.
Issues on the NBA side will also be huge a hurdle for the 26-year old Fil-Am. For him to play for Gilas, he will need the tacit approval of the Cavaliers, his mother team. The biggest are of concern there is the lack of insurance to cover Jordan's NBA contract in the event of a catastrophic injury.
Even if FIBA and the Cavaliers will give Jordan the blessing to aid the Philippine mission to China, Jordan would have to seriously consider it because he is about to enter a "walk year."
The four-year $50 million contract he signed with the Lakers ends in the 2019-20 season where he collects $13.4 million. He can then enter free agency and position himself for what could be a monster payday, somewhere in the range of $70 to $75 million for at least four years. Through 76 games this season, Clarkson is averaging 17 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists a contest.
With the kind of generational wealth coming his way, is Jordan willing to risk all that windfall?
Only he knows, for sure.
Meanwhile, even he won't be playing for Gilas, Clarkson assured will be rooting for his teammates.
"Just be ready. Go in there. Try to win. Do your job . Hopefully we get some wins over there and do what we gotta do."