The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off a surprising deal before the NBA’s trade deadline, sending Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a first-round pick in the 2018 Draft.
The move ended up being just one of a flurry of deals that changed the NBA landscape, with the Cavaliers at the center of the activity. Of course, as thrilled as the Lakers are to land Thomas, Frye, a draft pick, and cap space next summer, it still wasn’t easy to part ways with Clarkson and Nance.
Several Lakers, including Julius Randle, who joined the organization in the same year as Clarkson, expressed their sadness in seeing their friends become former teammates.
Meanwhile, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant took to Twitter to voice his support for the Cleveland-bound duo:
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) February 9, 2018
Bryant and Clarkson spent two seasons as teammates, while Nance’s rookie campaign coincided with Bryant’s farewell tour. As Bryant’s career came to an end, he was often seen mentoring the young players, making a lasting impression on the team’s future.
In Cleveland, Nance and Clarkson are joining a team that is expected to make a deep playoff run. The Cavs traded away six players before the deadline, bringing in four new ones who are expected to give LeBron James the kind of complementary pieces that he needs in order to make another push to the NBA Finals.
Nance will fill a role as a reserve big man for the Cavaliers, and with Kevin Love out due to injury, he will need to hit the ground running. Clarkson, on the other hand, will have some real competition for minutes from players like George Hill and Rodney Hood, who were both also new acquisitions.
Clarkson and Nance should get to experience the playoffs for the first time in their young careers, but Lakers fans will be hoping the Cavaliers don’t find too much success since Los Angeles will be attempting to woo James away from his hometown this summer.
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