The Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers completed the first big transaction of the 2018 NBA trade deadline, with Isaiah Thomas moving to L.A. in a package deal that will sent point guard Jordan Clarkson to 'The Land'.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the news:
Lakers sending Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance to the Cavaliers, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
Cleveland is sending Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Lakers for Clarkson and Nance, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
Per Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers are also giving the Lakers their 2018 first-round pick, which is lottery protected.
Clarkson will replace Thomas as this team's starting point guard. He's averaging 14.5 points and 3.3 assists per game, while shooting .448 from the field. The 25-year-old is in his fourth NBA season.
Larry Nance Jr. will bring solid depth to a Cavaliers bench that many consider one of the league's worst. The 6-foot-9 power forward is averaging 8.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
The Lakers acquire Thomas, a two-time NBA All-Star, who played just 15 games with the Cavaliers. The central piece of the Kyrie Irving trade, Thomas missed the first half of the season with a hip injury that required surgery in the summer. There were reports of him calling out teammate Kevin Love in a meeting back in January, so a transaction may have been best for he and the Cavs.
Thomas is averaging 14.7 points and 4.5 assists per game, far less than the 28.9 points and 5.9 assists he averaged per contest last year. It's possible his tenure in Los Angeles is very brief; the Lakers have a prized youngster in Lonzo Ball, and Thomas is slated to hit free agency this summer.
As for Channing Frye, the 34-year-old has been used primarily as a bench player over the past three seasons. He's averaging just 4.8 points per game this season, with 2.5 rebounds per game.
Thomas was expected to form a big three with LeBron James and Kevin Love, and help them move on from the Kyrie Irving saga. But injuries, team drama and a poor fit to the system made for a disappointing tenure in Cleveland for Thomas. He'll get the chance to reset his free agent value in L.A., while the Cavs continue to go all-in for one last run at a championship.