Cavs Acquire Clarkson, Nance In Isaiah Thomas Trade

1:14pm: The trade is now official, the Lakers announced in a press release. The 2018 first-rounder acquired by the Lakers is top-three protected, which will protect the Cavs in the unlikely event that they miss the postseason and then get lucky in the lottery.Isaiah Thomas vertical

11:08am: The Lakers and Cavaliers are set to complete a trade that will send Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). In exchange, the Lakers will receive Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and the Cavaliers’ 2018 first-round pick, per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (Twitter link). That pick will be protected, tweets Woj.

The deal is a fascinating one for two teams that have been heavily involved in trade rumors throughout the 2017/18 season. The move reflects the Cavaliers’ desire to get better right away, while the Lakers look ahead to the summer.

From the Cavs’ perspective, the trade looks like an admission that the acquisition of Thomas wasn’t going to work. After missing most of the first half of the season with a hip injury, the former Celtics star hasn’t been able to recapture his old form, and has publicly expressed his frustration during Cleveland’s recent slump. Thomas’ .361 FG% and .253 3PT% are easily career lows, and his average of 14.7 PPG is way down from the 28.9 PPG he put up last season in Boston.

“He’s worked too hard to get back, and he’s a ball-dominant player,” Thomas’ agent Aaron Goodwin told Joe Vardon of “It’s LeBron’s ball, and this clearly wasn’t working. [Cavs GM] Koby [Altman] and I have had enough conversations where it was clear, with the way the system was going, it wasn’t beneficial for either party. This is a good opportunity for Isaiah.”

By sending a struggling Thomas to Los Angeles along with Frye, the Cavs will secure a pair of solid rotation players who are both just 25 years old and are under contract beyond this season. Clarkson has averaged 14.5 PPG with a .448/.324/.795 shooting line so far in 2017/18. Nance, meanwhile, has posted a career-best 8.6 PPG and 6.8 RPG, with a .601 FG%.

While Thomas and Frye are on expiring contracts, Clarkson and Nance will earn a combined $14.77MM in 2018/19, pushing Cleveland’s total guaranteed team salary for next year above the $100MM mark, not counting LeBron James. With or without James, it seems very unlikely that the Cavs will have cap room this summer, barring some major moves.

The Lakers, on the other hand, clear nearly $15MM in 2018/19 money from their books in this deal, taking on two expiring contracts and landing a first-round pick in the process. Despite recent rumblings that the team could be shifting its free agency focus to 2019, this deal puts L.A. in a great position to create enough cap room to make a run at two maximum-salary free agents this summer. Their top targets figure to include Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, and – of course – LeBron.

One of the most interesting aspects of this deal is that both teams could make the case that it improved their odds of signing James this summer — the Cavs acquired some players who can help them contend this season and can stick around next year, while the Lakers created more cap space and will be able to use their new first-round pick to add another player to their young core this offseason.

Some housekeeping notes on this trade: Cleveland will now be unable to trade the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick unless they acquire another 2018 or 2019 first-rounder. The Cavs have already traded their ’19 first-rounder, and can’t leave themselves without first-round picks in consecutive future seasons. They’ll reduce their projected luxury tax bill in this deal too, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks outlines. Additionally, the Lakers should create a modest trade exception in the deal worth $1,471,382, the amount of Nance’s 2017/18 salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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118 thoughts on “Cavs Acquire Clarkson, Nance In Isaiah Thomas Trade

  1. Thronson5

    Damn, that sucks! As a Lakers fan I knew there was a possibility we might get rid of these guys to create cap for next year but it still sucks. For me Clarkson not so much but Nance doesn’t feel good especially if we let Randle walk or trade him.

    • Including Nance means they are really wanting to hit the free-agent Market big this summer.

      • Thomas Swanson

        The Lakers just said they will wait until 2019 to go after free agents. They still have to deal with Luol Deng. They may hold on to Randle.

        • That was before they opened up space for two max contracts for this offseason. Cousins likely isn’t an option anymore and I don’t think anyone knows where PG will be going. So the Lakers will still probably hold onto space for the 2019 free agency period, but this cap space still allows them to go after PG or LeBron.

          • Thomas Swanson

            LeBron will only play for a superteam. Love won’t be back until 2 weeks before the playoffs. The Cavs will try to use Love to get a draft pick like last season. LeBron’s superteam is now a 1 man team. They still have J.R. and Tristan on the roster. Love is due $25 million. PG likes Westbrook. Durant will stay in Golden State. Cousins will stay in New Orleans. Then LeBron, then the second teir. Philly has Simmons and Embiid along with picks this year. That’s more than the Cavs have.

            • Thomas Swanson

              L.A. would be smart to stay with Lonzo, Ingram, and Kuzma and try to add Love, Thompson, Butler,
              Leonard etc. Cavs are hurting.

  2. southbeachbully

    Obviously, we can’t tell how good or bad of an acquisition this is until we know who’s going to the Lakers but I do like it from the standpoint that their both relatively young (both 25) , and in the case of Clarkson, controllable for another two seasons. If the deal sends redundant or unneeded contracts like Shumpert or Smith, even better,

  3. rxbrgr

    Nice move by the Lakers! There was talk they’d have to part with a first to move Clarkson. Bonus is that Thomas has a reasonably sized cap hold for his talent level for them to work with next summer.

    • rxbrgr

      And so long to any talk of moving that Nets pick… This may be it for the Cavs’ deadline upgrades, as Thomas and Frye were about their only expiring salary ballast.

  4. southbeachbully

    Wow….I thought Isaiah had a good relationship with Gilbert? He just said how he didn’t want to be traded again.

    I.T’s defensive liability because of his size was very much exposed yesterday as they kept switching him out on defense to bring in Osman so that if the T-Wolves switched on offense they had several players 6’5 or bigger on the floor thus avoiding them taking advantage of IT’s lack of height on defense.

  5. Thronson5

    Ok, as a Lakers fan I take back my comment. I like this trade. We get a first round pick since we wouldn’t have one, get IT who if he can get his legs back and can become the player he once was can actually end up being resigned and be an asset to the the team. Is Frye a free agent next year? I hope so.

      • Thronson5

        That’s great. So see can get rid of both players after the year and if IT becomes the player he was before he could also be a player they look into signing. I think this is a great trade.

        • I agree. This trade is actually pretty good for both sides. Lakers clear the cap space they’ll need this summer for 2 max free agents and the Cavs get younger and more athletic for now and in case LeBron leaves. Also, the Cavs can’t move the Brooklyn pick unless they get another guaranteed 2018 first round pick in another deal.

    • Sports

      Disagree. They get a solid starting PG for 2 years and nance is great. Both cheap salary. Losing 1st rd was obv in the cards if they want to contend this season.

    • Not that bad for Cleveland. Isaiah had supposedly worn out his welcome. Moving their own pick now means they can’t move the Brooklyn pick unless they get another guaranteed first round pick this year in another deal. For the Cavs, this gets them younger and more athletic, so it helps them now and build in case LeBron leaves in the offseason. Obviously a healthy Thomas is the best player in the deal, but he’s not healthy so the talent is pretty much a wash at this point.

      • Bryzzo2016

        Whoa, not even sort of true. Clarkson is a “solid starting PG”? Really? He’s paid like one, but he isn’t that good. His contract is a mess, the Lakers have been trying to move it for a while now. Nance is “great”? At what? Not basketball. I live in LA, I watch this team closely, I follow the local media covering this team closely. The Lakers got rid of bad salary AND got a 1st rounder to boot. They took advantage of the Cavs desperation and dysfunction.

      • Solo Beard

        Yeah actually now that I look at it more it’s not that bad. They shouldn’t of thrown in their pick though. That was unnecessary.

  6. Not surprised Isaiah Thomas is being traded. He hasn’t played well since coming back and has also been the most vocal, and critical, voice coming from the Cavs locker room the past couple of weeks. Read/heard rumors that a lot of Cavs’ players thought Thomas had worn out his welcome considering his play.

  7. CubsRule08

    Guess IT may have ran his mouth a little too much and LeBron shipped him to LA

  8. Bryzzo2016

    Wow! I like this deal for the Lakers, ESPECIALLY if they can flip IT to a contender in the next few hours. I believe Cleveland will continue to struggle and this pick can end up in the 18-22 range.

  9. Sports

    This is a PERFECT trade for both teams. Lakers clear cap and get a 1st rd. Hopefully randle can return a 1st.. doubtful now

  10. flabbit

    As a Laker fan I don’t like this trade. Isaiah is overrated but at least a first rounder is coming back

    • Why? This clears the space the Lakers need for 2 max free agents this summer. If they can find a taker for Deng (while probably attaching the Cavs pick or another young player not named Ball, Ingram, or Kuzma) they can create enough space for close to 3 max players. Clarkson obviously wasn’t in the long term plans for the Lakers and Nance’s future is also murky with their desire to add a max free agent.

      • Thomas Swanson

        The Lakers have said they are no longer pursuing LeBron James and will focus to 2019 on Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler etc. They have another year to clear space.

    • Bryzzo2016

      Think bigger picture, this deal has NOTHING to do w/ IT. The Lakers just cleared an additional 15 mil in cap space for next year AND got a 1st rounder on top of it. Moving Clarkson’s contract and securing a draft asset was the mission and it was accomplished.

    • southbeachbully

      Why would you think that? Clearly, Isaiah was not an ideal fit for the Cavs. Add to the fact that he was in uni for MAYBE a week before he started calling out veterans that have been there busting their hump while he was on the bench. They get two young and very athletic players in return.

      Only thing I dislike is that we lose Frye’s shooting and his clubhouse presense. Would much rather they were able to move Shumpert or Smith’s contract too. But, not mad at this deal. Who knows how much longer it would take for IT to return back to 100% condition. Plus, last nights game really underlined his defensive liability.

      • I agree about Frye. He and RJ seemed to be the heart of the locker room the past two to three years. But since he’s an expiring contract and Smith/Shump/TT still have term on their contracts, it was unlikely that they’d be able to convince a team to take one without attaching a first round pick.

      • brewcrew08

        I’m talking in terms of next year with regards to LeBron. Now you have Clarkson, TT, JR, Love, crowder and korver locked up making over 85M combined next year. No room for LeBron if he takes 35-40M next year.

          • Thomas Swanson

            Gilbert lost $18 million last year and more than that this year. He will not go into the luxury tax again. The Cavs won’t be playing in the Finals this season.

            • So you’re telling me that if LeBron says he wants to go back to Cleveland that Gilbert is going to pass?

              • Thomas Swanson

                I’m saying if it causes Gilbert to pay more than $119 million in salaries, he won’t do it. He lost $18 million paying $45 million in luxury tax last year and will be worse this year. the Cavs won’t make the Finals this year or next. If it means losing money again, he won’t bring LeBron back. The Cavs don’t have a superteam anymore. LeBron won’t stay!!

                • And that will be the quickest way for Gilbert to lose the fan base if word got out that LeBron wanted to resign and Gilbert passed because he didn’t want to pay the luxury tax. But what do I know. Apparently you have the inside scoop on everything happening in the NBA Central division. Who needs a Woj Bomb when you can get a Swan Bomb…

                  • Thomas Swanson

                    His fan base was lost before LeBron came back. A very few NBA teams are losing money. The Cavs are one of them. Gilbert got his championship. Now he wants to go back to making money. If you’ve been reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer the last week, you wouldn’t have needed to post. You would have already read this. Terry Pluto and Joe Vardon have been covering it for several days.

  11. brewcrew08

    So the Irving deal is now Irving/1st for Crowder/Nance/Clarkson….yikes.

    • Don’t forget the Brooklyn pick. That was the most important part of the deal for Cleveland. That and Crowder since they thought he could be the perfect guy to help LeBron on defense.

      • brewcrew08

        The Brooklyn pick isn’t even a lock to be there though. They could lose that if it doesn’t fall between 2-8 right?

        • No they are guaranteed to get the Brooklyn pick. The pick you might be thinking of is the Lakers pick which Philly/Boston own. If its 2-5 it goes to the Boston and anywhere else it stays in Philly.

  12. DarkGhost

    Addition by subtraction for Cleveland. Getting rid of IT will only help the locker room and gets rid of his god awful D which he wasn’t making up for with his offense at all. I’m not sure how Clarkson is defensively but he has to be better than the manakin IT was.

  13. TJECK109

    Cavs just acquired Kimba and Batum for Clarkson the BKN #1 and another player

      • I give no fox

        Except they can’t trade the BK pick and that is not enough salary going back to Charlotte. Would need to add osman to JR to make it work and also include Charlotte 1st this year going back to Cleveland. In the words of Aerosmith, dream on…

    • sameichel

      They can’t trade the nets pick anymore as a rule that says they could only trade 1 pick this year after trade their own pick back to back years

      • ^ the only way they could trade the Brooklyn pick is if they acquire a guaranteed first round pick in 2018 in a separate deal. Not sure if a pick swap, say the Brooklyn pick for (insert team’s) own first rounder, would work though.

      • gammaraze

        interesting, because an article I read yesterday said that the rule you’re referring to is often misinterpreted… There is no rule stopping an NBA team from trading its 1st round pick every single year. The only rule is that they can’t trade back to back FUTURE 1st round picks. As this is 2018, they can trade their 2018 pick.

        • Luke Adams

          This is true, but they’ve also traded their 2019 pick, which is why they have to keep one in 2018 (or acquire a new one for 2019).

          • gammaraze

            That means that they can’t trade their 2020 pick, not their 2018 picks. The rule doesn’t even read that way.

            • A team can’t trade first round picks in back to back years. The loophole is is they own another team’s pick in one of those years. The other loophole is that the team can trade their pick on draft night (I might be wrong about that last one, but I think once the season ends, or at draft night, the team can then trade their pick).

  14. Danthemilwfan

    Dumb trade for Cleveland. Doesn’t make them better. Thomas needed time to get going.

    • southbeachbully

      I like ITs spirit but there is no crystal ball that exists that you can say that he will return to being a prolific scorer THIS season with this TEAM. Plus, he MIGHT have meant well but he really has been critical of players and a coach who’ve been there for the last 3 seasons banging out in the trenches. I think a guy like Kevin Love will listen to what ANY teammate might say but I think the optics are just better when it comes from someone who’s earned the right to call you out AND has been actually on the floor all year. I think IT just rubbed ppl the wrong way.

  15. dust44

    Clarkson is a better defender to guard Curry. I actually like this trade a lot. Nance can guard Draymond, Zaza and probably Iggy as well.

    • Anyone can guard Zaza lol. He’s a cleanup man so you basically got to make sure he isn’t there to cleanup offensive rebounds.

      • brewcrew08

        Lol already putting Cleveland in the finals this year. Not if they don’t figure out how to play defense.

    • Thomas Swanson

      He’s clearing house preparing for a team without LeBron next season.

    • Thomas Swanson


    • Thomas Swanson

      Gilbert has already asked Hill to take a buyout this summer. The only bad contract he needs to get rid of is J.R. Smith and maybe Love. Everything Gilbert did today is what he said he wanted to do.

    • Thomas Swanson

      LeBron will only play for a superteam. He doesn’t have one any more.

      • The only available rim protector is DJ and the Clippers wanted the Brooklyn pick which Cleveland didn’t want to give up. Even then, a rim protector isn’t going to do much for them unless they got a guy who can also switch onto the smaller, athletic guys.

        • Thomas Swanson

          According to Sporting News, the Cavs offered the Brooklyn pick to the Clippers just before the deadline. Dwayne Dedmon was available too. Nobody wanted T.T. or J.R.’s contracts. This is not a finals team.

  16. sameichel

    The big upside for the Cavs is they get a really good defender in nance and they keep what is looking like will be the number 1 pick

    • brewcrew08

      Isn’t the Brooklyn pick protected? I thought it had to be within 2-8 to allow Cleveland to get it

      • gammaraze

        RealGM shows no such information, also HIGHLY unlikely anyways, this pick was traded by Brooklyn in 2013. What receiving team takes a pick 5 years out with that kind of protection still on it?

  17. Curtis Smith

    Actually like these trade for both teams.
    Kudos to both gms for getting this trade done considering it pushes both teams in the direction they wanna be headed in

    • Agree completely. One of the rare trades that should help both teams. Lakers clear the cap space they have so desperately wanted for this summer to sign two max free agents. Cavs get younger and more athletic, which isn’t waving the white flag for this season but also helps them if/when LeBron leaves.

  18. am17tibe

    Now who won the Kyrie/Thomas trade? Everyone saying the Cavs stole from the Celtics. Lol

    • Hannibal8us

      Depends on who the Cavs get with that Nets pick, if they trade it for Deandre it would still be close.

    • I don’t think anyone ever said the Cavs stole from the Celtics. The Cavs were giving up the best player in the deal so there was little chance of them matching value. The Kyrie deal was always about Crowder and the Brooklyn pick. IT was a required piece to add in and the Cavs were hopeful he could revert back to form, but I doubt many people were confident that IT would be as good as last year and/or fix his defensive issues.

      • x%sure

        That was widely said as I recall. Only One other poster besides me on this site emphatically said the Cavs should annul the trade when IT’s hip problem was discovered.

    • sameichel

      The answer to that question may not come until 2020 when kryie is slated to be a free agent, and whoever the Cavs may draft could be very good by then

  19. imindless

    Nance was the most valuable player on the lakers from a statistical stand point. That hurts big time.

  20. Yamsi12

    Lakers will come together when they sign liangelo & lamelo….”and a child shall lead them” Isiah 11:6

    • agentx

      Isaiah will be lucky if he can average 11.6 ppg on a mediocre Lakers team.

  21. Other thing to consider here, once Ball comes back, Isaiah Thomas is either getting bought out or coming off the bench. That coupled with the fact that he has proven himself to be 100% back yet means he’s unlikely to see any Brinks trucks.

  22. padam

    I hate the Lakers, but they’re finally making the right moves after Mitch K got dismissed.

  23. Lakers win this one. I think they wanted to move Clarkson for nothing earlier in the year. So, they get a 1st and cap space for Nance effectively. The contracts are just expiring ones. While I don’t see the point of this deal, Altman should be commended for admitting the KI trade wasn’t well conceived and moving on from IT.

    • The Cavs get younger and more athletic. So they aren’t completely waving the white flag this year but they also have some decent looking players for next year with or without LeBron.

      • Thomas Swanson

        Better than what they would have had. They still need to find a way to get rid of T.T. and J.R.

  24. Yamsi12

    In Lavar Ball the Lakers trust. He will show them the way to the ring. It runs through his sons and their buttholes.

    • You obviously haven’t watched a minute of Isaiah Thomas this year, or read any news. He’s been pretty bad and been the most vocal and critical voice in the locker room. Someone like LeBron can afford to be critical because he is playing well. But Thomas has been there for a few months, with no performance behind it to back it up, and seems to be criticising everyone but himself.

  25. Any ideas why the Lakers didnt trade Randle for a second rounder if he is gone after this season anyway?

  26. bennyg

    So does that mean IT eventually becomes a 2 guard once Ball is back? Might help IT in the long run. Just let the guy practice being a spot up shooter and this may work long term in LA.
    Leaving space for Leaonard to cime across before the 2019 deadline.
    I can live with that.

  27. Bryzzo2016

    Haha, not only did the Cavs get fleeced in this deal, but by taking on the Clarkson contract, the Lakers can now squeeze two max deals. So, they may have just helped the Lakers lure LeBron to L.A. along with PG. Desperate move by the Cavs

  28. beany_boy

    Cavs fans are celebrating the jettison of Thomas and Crowder. Overrated and cancers in the locker room.

  29. x%sure

    I think the Cavs should have traded that package for Dinwiddie and Carroll, as I suggested… I did get a Utah trade partly right. Atlanta presumably wanted too much for Dedmon and Bazemore. But there were other possibilities. Oquinn and Lee… or even Oquinn and Baker. Or Favors along with Hood. The trade is surprising, helping LAL clear salary, but still a positive for the Cavs… and great for LAL.

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