On Sunday night the Los Angeles Lakers host the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first meeting between the two teams since their huge trade on the February deadline day. The deal sent Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to the Cavaliers in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and the Cavs’ first-round draft pick.
While it was certainly difficult to trade away two beloved players like Nance and Clarkson, the deal cleared a ton of salary cap space for the Lakers while also adding a valuable draft pick. It will also give both Clarkson and Nance a chance to participate in the playoffs for the first time.
With a return to Staples Center on the horizon, Nance said that he can’t wait to face off against his old team, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
“I can’t wait,” Nance said. “It was a really fun, really good 2 and 1/2 years and I’m looking forward to playing back there.”
Nance was certainly one of the most beloved players on the Lakers team thanks to his constant energy and hustle, along with his highlight-reel dunks. He and Clarkson will both likely receive nice ovations from the hometown fans in their return.
Both players also serve as examples of the Lakers’ scouting staff finding gems late in the draft. Nance was the 27th pick of the team in 2015, while Clarkson was taken 46th overall in 2014.
The Lakers front office will hope to find another nice piece with the draft pick they acquired in the trade with the Cavaliers.
Nonetheless for as nice as it will be to return, Nance and Clarkson will be doing everything possible to get a win for the Cavaliers who are a distant third in the Eastern Conference and not far from dropping further in the standings.
The Lakers, meanwhile, will be looking to keep their slim playoff hopes alive in the tough Western Conference.
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