At the 2017-18 NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers sent Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Channing Frye, Isaiah Thomas, and a 2019 first round draft pick that turned into Moritz Wagner.
As the Cavaliers were looking to improve their roster around LeBron James, most questioned why they helped the Lakers create the necessary salary cap space for two max-contract slots to pursue him and another All-Star player in 2018 NBA free agency.
In the end, the Lakers signed James to a four-year, $154 million contract, and the Cavaliers are attempting to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference with a roster now led by Kevin Love.
Nance, who played 62 games with James, had some advice for his former teammates, via James Walters of Express:
“I’ve talked to them a little bit, I’m still very close with a couple of them,” he added. “I’ve told them to be at your best because he works so hard that it makes you want to work as hard.”
Although it was difficult for the Lakers to trade Nance, the 25-year-old has an opportunity to play in his hometown and for his father’s old team. With the emergence of Kyle Kuzma, Nance was reportedly viewed as an incentive for the Cavaliers to take on Jordan Clarkson’s four-year, $50 million deal.
Heading into the 2018-19 NBA season, Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac are the only players remaining from the previous Lakers front office. With owner and president Jeanie Buss praising president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, the Lakers are looking to establish themselves as championship contenders after rebuilding through the NBA Draft for the last five seasons.