After a conversation with Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King, Earl Clark told Basketball Insiders he felt uncertain about returning to the Nets next season.
Originally, Clark signed a 10-day contract with the Nets and performing well enough he was granted another 10-day deal.. Eventually the Nets awarded him a deal that kept him for the rest of the season and next. Next season he is scheduled to earn $1.2 million, but his contract is not guaranteed until October 26.
On March 25, Thaddeus Young suffered a left knee sprain, sparking the Clark signing as insurance while Young recovered. With Young healthy the primary purpose for Clark seems resolved.
Adding a power forward whether via free agency or the draft would deem Clark expendable – if he isn’t already – in the minds of Nets executives. Someone on a cheaper contract through free agency would be trusted to produce similarly to Clark, if not more than him. Giving a young player through the draft 9.3 minutes per game, the number Clark held, wouldn’t allow them to flourish per se, but would show the team a glimpse of the player and his promise.
In 10 regular season games for the Nets Clark averaged 2.7 points per game, 0.4 blocks and 2.3 rebounds per game. During the postseason against the Atlanta Hawks the New Jersey native played 13 minutes over two games, hitting a three in both contests.
Clark mainly brings value as a rebounder and defender, but believes he can contribute to a team in multiple ways. “I’m just a player who can do a lot of things at both ends of the court,” Clark said after signing his 10-day contract.
Despite the Phoenix Suns drafting Clark at pick #14 after his sophomore season at Louisville a journeyman’s career awaited him. Playing for his sixth NBA team in five years, along with an overseas stint in China for the Shandong Lions, Clark understands the fluidity of professional basketball for a player of his caliber.