Earl Clark's new contract with the Orlando Magic, which he signed Thursday afternoon, is worth approximately $2 million over two seasons, with a player option on the second season, according to the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins. The deal enables Orlando to keep the 23-year-old prospect afforably, while also giving Clark the opportunity to earn a bigger payday this summer if he's able to impress in the 2011/12 season.
Clark chose to remain with the Magic rather than sign with the Denver Nuggets, with whom he met Wednesday, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. After playing in a charity game Magic center Dwight Howard hosted in late November, Clark told HOOPSWORLD, "I don't want to play anywhere else."
The Phoenix Suns, who used the 14th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft on the Louisville product, did not exercise their option on Clark's third and fourth seasons, making him an unrestricted free agent. That's an unusual move for a team to make on a lottery pick, but Clark's rookie campaign didn't impress Phoenix: he averaged 2.7 points in 7.5 minutes, making just 51 appearances and shoting 37.1 percent from the field.
In a sense, Orlando spent its 2011 first-round draft pick on Clark, sending it to the Suns as part of a five-player trade last December. In 33 games in Magic pinstripes, Clark averaged 4.1 points and 2.5 rebounds, and impressed coach Stan Van Gundy with his potential as a versatile defender.