Instant Reaction: Cavs Trade Thomas and Frye To Lakers For Clarkson and Nance Jr.

Spencer Davies gives his instant reaction to the Lakers-Cavaliers deal before the trade deadline.

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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The Isaiah Thomas era in Cleveland is over, and boy, was it short-lived.

According to reports, the Cavaliers and Lakers have agreed upon a trade that sends Thomas, Frye and a protected first-round pick to Los Angeles in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons for both sides:

Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka get an A+

This couldn’t have worked out much better for the Lakers.

They were able to finally move Clarkson and the remainder of his four-year, $50 million contract signed two summers ago. It’s been evident that they’ve been trying to find somebody to take that on, and they did it Thursday by taking back two expiring deals in return along with a first-rounder. Now with him and Nance Jr. off the books, all eyes are set on the summer for Los Angeles, who has cleared cap space and plenty of room for two maximum contracts in free agency.

Isaiah Thomas and Cavaliers don’t have to deal with each other anymore

No matter what is said in reaction to this trade by either party, the disconnect between Thomas and Cleveland was obvious. Once things started going downhill, chaos ensued. There was a lot of finger pointing from both sides.

Thomas was often asked about how things could get better, he used words like “trust” and “together” all too many times. When Tyronn Lue was recently informed of the All-Star point guard’s comments regarding the Cavaliers’ lack of adjustments in a loss against Orlando, his facial expression told the story.

On one end, Thomas gets a fresh start with Los Angeles. He’ll likely back up Lonzo Ball and will probably join him in the back court in some of Luke Walton’s rotations. This is his opportunity to really get into gear as he tries to earn a pay day going into this summer.

As for Cleveland, their locker room climate improves immediately. This is no slight to Thomas because sometimes personalities don’t mesh. Who knows where the tipping point came. It’d probably be fair to assume that questioning Kevin Love’s absence when he left sick in the game against the Thunder a few weeks back is when relationships started to sour. And with losses piling up, it only snowballed from there.

Cleveland gets younger and faster

There’s no doubt that this deal was about finding a suitor to take Thomas back in a deal, but to Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman’s credit, he did a great job at improving a desperate area of need.

Clarkson is going to score the basketball and run the floor. He’s not the best three-point shooter in the world (32.4 percent), but he’s proven how hot he can get when he’s locked in. What Lue decides to do with him will be interesting because of the powerful punch he’s brought off the Lakers bench for quite some time. He’s got three years left on his contract including this year, however, he’s only 25 years old and is just getting started in this league.

Nance Jr. is the same age as the teammate coming to Cleveland with him. He obviously has ties to the city with his father, Larry Nance Sr., playing for the Cavaliers in the late 80s. Aside from that, the young forward has a ton of potential and plenty of athleticism to both. He’ll be a heck of a help in transition and on the defensive end, which are two facets of the game the team desperately lacked before the deal.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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