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Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue didn’t want to pigeonhole Jordan Clarkson into a specific role when asked if he’s a point guard or shooting guard.
So Lue simply described Clarkson, a 6-foot-5 guard acquired with Larry Nance Jr. from the Lakers on Thursday, as “a player.”
“Just put him on the floor,” Lue said after practice Saturday in Atlanta. “He can make things happen and score the basketball.
“We just want to get the ball in his hands, let him be aggressive.”
To which Clarkson is all for.
“I feel like that’s my job,” he told reporters after his first practice with his new teammates, who also include the just-acquired George Hill and Rodney Hood. “Coming in here a combo guard, coming in to score and make plays and play defense.
“Just getting out, running the lanes. Just coming in and impacting the game any way I can, that’s the biggest thing.”
Clarkson said it’s a different mindset in Cleveland than it was in Los Angeles.
“I know what their main goal here is — to bring a ‘chip here,” he said. “So I’m coming here with definitely a different mindset… coming here trying to win.”
Big expectations are part of his everyday NBA life, now that he’s a Cavalier.
“I know every time we step on the floor, we’ve got a chance to win,” Clarkson said. “In LA, it felt like we was kind of working to build something.
“Here, it we’re here to win and compete, to try and get a ‘chip.”
Clarkson is happy to have Nance come with him a member of the Cavaliers.
“Yeah, (he) definitely,” he said. “(Nance) made my first trade, first time I’ve been traded in the league… and definitely good to have somebody here that I’ve been with for like three years.”
Clarkson said he didn’t find out about the trade immediately.
“I was asleep on the couch, to be honest with you,” he said, smiling. “(Lakers president) Magic (Johnson), (GM) Rob (Pelinka), they called me like three times. I was asleep on the couch.
“I just kinda looked at the phone because we had a game, a shootaround, and I was like, ‘Man, let me get my sleep real quick.’ I called them like 15 minutes later and then I heard the news.”
When he makes his Cleveland debut Sunday in Boston against the Celtics, he and Nance will have the distinction of playing with both LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
“I did,” he responded when asked if he’s thought about that. “You know, that’s pretty crazy. That’s something I’m always going to be able to tell my kids.”
Clarkson said he watched James and Bryant play the game as a youngster.
“Him and Kobe are definitely two players that I watched growing up,” he said. “Being able to play alongside them is pretty crazy. It’s something that I’m going to cherish for a while.”
Clarkson said James was prepared for him during their first practice together.
“Yeah, I mean, just in terms of us going through the plays, he already knew what I like to do, basically,” he said. “So, he kinda just threw me in the position, as well as Coach (Lue).
“I feel like I’m real comfortable here.”
He admitted the NBA rumor mill was not something he enjoyed in the days leading up to the trade deadline.
“It’s kind of relieving, you know?” he said of the trade to the Cavaliers finally going down. “Being able to be in a place tat they want you here, coming here to compete.
“You know, all the rumors and stuff… sometimes, stuff messes with your head during the year. I’m just happy to be here. I feel like it’s a blessing.”