In the first of three blockbuster-ish trades yesterday, executed in a whirlwind hours before the NBA trade deadline, the Cavs acquired guard Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Los Angeles Lakers. In exchange, they shipped testy point guard Isaiah Thomas, locker-room deacon Channing Frye and the Cavs' 2018 first-round pick out west. The Lakers will own the pick provided it's not in the top three.
For those who don't know, Larry Nance Jr. is the son of Larry Nance, a former Cavalier whose number 22 hangs from the rafters of the Quicken Loans Arena. Nance was a key member of the Lenny Wilkens-coached squads of the late 80s and early 90s. He is, in terms of total win shares, the sixth most valuable Cavalier of all time. He sits among the franchise's top 10 in total points and rebounds and is third all-time, behind only Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Hot Rod Williams, in total blocks.
Nance Jr. grew up in Akron — the Cavs were playing in Richfield in those days — and attended Revere High School. The hashtag in his farewell Instagram post yesterday (above), should be familiar to Cavs fans. LeBron, of course, is the kid from Akron. But it's nice to have another one.
In a conference call yesterday, Cavs GM Koby Altman said that Nance was in "borderline tears" when he got word that he'd been traded to his hometown team. Tears of joy.
Altman also suggested that Nance would be a team building block, whether or not LeBron James returns to Cleveland after this season.
"He's going to be a core piece for us moving forward," Altman said. "Basketball IQ, athleticism, work ethic, a cultural piece we're excited about."
The Lakers were reluctant to part with Nance, but used him as bait to entice teams into taking on Jordan Clarkson's unappealing contract. Clarkson, no slouch, is owed about $13 million per year next year and in 2019-2020, which sounds like a lot, but is still less than what LeBron, Kevin Love, George Hill, Tristan Thompson, and J.R. Smith are scheduled to make next year. Yikes.
Nance will likely wear number 24. His status for tonight's game is uncertain, but he'll be joining the team, along with the three other players the Cavs acquired yesterday (Clarkson, Utah's Rodney Hood and Sacramento's George Hill) shortly.