It’s the worst-kept secret in the NBA that the Los Angeles Lakers have plans on luring two big free agents this summer, but in order to do so they will need to clear some salary cap space. Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle have been mentioned ad nauseum as potential trade candidates, but a somewhat surprising inclusion recently was Larry Nance Jr.
Once called the team’s secret weapon by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, Nance began the season as a starter, but now comes off the bench.
Either way, he constantly provides excellent defense and hustle, even as his offensive game hasn’t developed as much as many had hoped, himself included.
Many viewed the Lakers possibly shopping Nance as a surprise. In an appearance on The HoopsHype Podcast with Alex Kennedy, Nance admitted even he was surprised by the rumors:
“I was a little bit surprised [by the rumors], but at the end of the day, it’s a business. If something like that were to happen, if I were to get traded to a different team, it would be a team that would value me. I try to look at it like that, just as an opportunity, if that were to happen. Obviously, I’d love to stay in L.A. But if it happens, there’s nothing that I can do about it, but it would be a new opportunity and hopefully one that I can seize and make the best of.”
No one knows what the future will hold for Nance, Clarkson, or many other current Lakers as the front office continues to explore every option to improve the team both in the short- and long-term. Some answers could come in the near future as the Feb. 8 trade deadline rapidly approaches.
With Nance being a late first-round pick, he doesn’t offer much salary cap relief. So if he were to be traded, it would seem most likely that it would be part of a larger deal with other players.
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