Isaiah Thomas out in Cleveland
The Isaiah Thomas era in Cleveland is over.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers have dealt the diminutive Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Cavaliers will reportedly send Thomas, Channing Frye and a protected 2018 first-round pick in exchange for Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson and big man Larry Nance Jr.
It’s an abrupt end to a tumultuous time in Cleveland.
Thomas was the key player the Cavaliers received when the team traded All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics.
Cleveland also received the coveted 2018 first-round pick that belonged to the Brooklyn Nets in the trade with the Celtics, arguably the more valuable trade piece.
For Thomas, this will be the third team he suits up for in the past calendar year, with his having played in Boston just last season.
Thomas was a question mark for the Cavaliers.
The 5-foot-9 point guard was always going to be a defensive liability for the Cavs, but many were hoping that he could replicate some of Irving’s scoring punch.
Instead, a debilitating hip injury that limited Thomas to just 15 games for the Cavaliers has also sapped him of much of his offensive prowess.
Thomas’ return from injury also coincided with a terrible stretch for the Cavaliers, who went 7-8 in the 15 games Thomas played.
For a team hoping to make the NBA Finals for a fourth straight time, playing sub-.500 basketball was unacceptable.
Nance and Clarkson are both young and on longer-term deals than Thomas and Frye.
For the Lakers, the expiring contracts of Thomas and Frye can help clear some cap space in their dogged pursuit of star free agents. It’s been no secret that the Lakers want to sign both LeBron James and Paul George when they can become free agents in the offseason.
For the Cavaliers, the team gets younger and more athletic. Clarkson and Nance are both signed to longer deals, which provides Cleveland with some stability in the event that James chooses to leave the team as a free agent after the season.
Clarkson is under contract through 2020, while Nance is under contract through 2019.
It’s a tough break for Thomas, who earlier this week claimed that he was sick and tired of being traded.
Clarkson is currently averaging 14.5 points per game and will likely slot in as the starting point guard on the team.
For Nance, it’s a bit of a homecoming, with his father having been a two-time All Star for the Cavaliers.
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