Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE
Orlando Magic forward Earl Clark is "leaning" toward declining the player option on his contract in order to become an unrestricted free agent, Clark's agent, Happy Walters, told Orlando Pinstriped Post on Friday. Clark has until June 29th to notify the Magic of his decision. Walters said the team's lack of a head coach after dismissing Stan Van Gundy on May 21st may play a role in Clark's decision.
Clark averaged 2.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks for the Magic in 2011/12, but shot just 36.7 percent from the field. Taking on an increased role due to the absence of Dwight Howard, Clark's productively increased sharply in the postseason, averaging four points, 6.6 rebounds, and one block in Orlando's five-game loss to the Indiana Pacers.
The Magic acquired Clark in December 2010 from the Phoenix Suns. The Suns declined the third- and fourth-year options on the Louisville product's contract, making the former 14th overall Draft pick an unrestricted free agent in 2011. He re-signed with the club for two years and $2.4 million, with a player option on the second season.
Clark isn't the only player with a contract option to consider in the coming days: starting point guard Jameer Nelson, who's spent his entire eight-year career with the Magic, also owns a player option for 2012/13.