Nance will also bring some energy in the frontcourt for a team that has been criticized for a lack of effort almost all season. Clarkson overlaps a bit with Dwyane Wade, but with Wade likely to rest plenty as the season goes along, the Cavs now won't see as much fall off when he does so. Nance could play a more prominent role with the Cavaliers while Kevin Love mends from a broken hand. And any defense he provides will be a boon to a team that lacks any sort of viable rim protection.
The Cavs certainly made the best decision for their franchise, but Thomas will have to deal not only with a full recovery of his ailments, but yet another move to a different city.
The Lakers are reportedly looking to clear cap space ahead of the 2018 free agency class and possibly pursue James, if he opts out of his contract. Anderson Varejao, Mo Speights and Shaun Livingston were all Walton's teammates during his tenure with the Cavaliers only to play for him when Walton became the interim head coach of the Warriors.
Thomas is now shooting a healthy 46.4 percent on pull-ups, and makes for an intriguing pick-and-roll partner with Julius Randle, who ranks among the NBA's most efficient rolling big men. This move wasn't about that for the Lakers. The two-time All-Star averaged 14.7 points, but Cleveland went 7-8 in those games. The Lakers now project to have $46.9 million in cap room this summer. It probably was never going to work, and that's before we got to defensive issues. Being traded to the Lakers gives Thomas a chance to renew himself and wash away the past couple months before his contract expires at the end of the season.
The Celtics were not involved, but the Cavaliers and the Lakers just changed their season in multiple ways, and the ramifications of this trade could have a huge impact on this season, and the future for Boston. They did so by sending out Nance.
In exchange, the Cavs will receive Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Larry Nance Jr.
It was quickly assumed that Thomas would be bought out by the Lakers, but Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported that L.A. meant to keep both Thomas and Frye.
This does not take the Cavaliers out of contention, because they got two solid players in return.