Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to trade Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. The Lakers will also get the Cavs’ protected 1st Round Pick in the 2018 Draft.
Thomas only ended up playing 15 games with Cleveland after being part of the offseason trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. He was averaging 14.7 points through those games even though the team went 7-8. The writing was on the wall it would seem as just as recently as a couple days ago when IT was quoted as saying that most teams in the Association make adjustments throughout the game and Coach Tyrone Lue did not. Lue resounded the next day when asked during a press conference with a simple ‘That’s not true.”
Look, this trade is probably good for both teams in the long run, even if the optics don’t make the most sense in the short term. The Cavs get younger and the Lakers get a bit of veteran experience, but where is Thomas going to play? Is he really going to start over Lonzo Ball of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope? Doubtful. No this move for the Lakers is all about freeing up as much space as possible for an offseason run at LeBron James, Paul George, or maybe both of them. Both Thomas and Frye will be free agents in the offseason and you have to expect there is no way they resign Thomas and they only will resign Frye for a veteran’s minimum.
The Cavs get a very athletic forward in Nance, Jr., who’s daddy was one of the better players to ever play in Cleveland not named LeBron James. Clarkson is averaging about 14 PPG on about 45% shooting, so essentially replaces the points lost by shipping out Thomas. And even though the Cavs are struggling lightly right now, they’re still poised to make a Playoff run so that pick has next to no shot of being a Lottery pick.
Things are bad in Cleveland right now, with a bunch of infighting and turmoil. Hell, they had to rely on a miraculous block and last second shot in OT last night from the King to win their first Nationally Televised game of the season. Don’t expect this to be the last move they are linked too before the Trade Deadline closes this afternoon