2018 NBA Trade Deadline: New-Look Cavs

By Oliver Mauntel

Transaction Overview

Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Los Angeles Lakers receive:
Jordan Clarkson G Isaiah Thomas PG
Larry Nance Jr. PF Channing Frye PF
2018 1st round Pick (protected)

CLEVELAND-Although he had only played in 15 games, the Isaiah Thomas experiment clearly didn’t work out in Cleveland. The Cavs looked to improve their team chemistry by dumping off Thomas, while getting younger and more athletic in the process. Clarkson will serve as a much better defender than Thomas and will provide more length in the backcourt as well. Larry Nance Jr., returning to the organization in which his father’s #22 hangs in the rafters, will provide rim protection that the Cavs have so desperately needed. On the other end of the floor he is a highlight waiting to happen, as he will appear in the slam dunk contest over All-Star weekend.

LOS ANGELES-This trade was 100% about clearing salary cap space for the Lakers. By unloading Clarkson’s contract, Los Angeles now has the room to pursue 2 max contract players in the offseason (most likely LeBron James and Paul George). Isaiah Thomas doesn’t fit well with the Lakers’ plans for the future, and will most likely not resign with them following the season. However, a fresh start may allow Thomas to set his career back on track. Channing Frye is on the tail end of his career but will provide valuable leadership for the young Lakers bunch. Frye will also be reuniting with head coach Luke Walton, who was Frye’s college teammate at the University of Arizona from 2001-03.

Side note: The Cavaliers’ performance in the remainder of the season with these new pieces may very well determine whether LeBron will choose to stay in Cleveland or bolt once again in the offseason. If he chooses to head to the Lakers, this deal will prove to be a shrewd one by Magic Johnson.

Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Miami Heat receive:
2024 2nd round pick (protected) Dwyane Wade SG

CLEVELAND-With the acquisitions the Cavaliers made at the deadline, coupled with the emergence of rookie Cedi Osman, Dwyane Wade’s minutes were bound to decline in the near future. The Cavaliers chose to send Wade back home to Miami as a courtesy move, with only a second rounder in return.

MIAMI-By bringing back Wade, Pat Riley and the Heat will get a second chance to mend their relationship with Wade and have him end his career where it began. The Heat have lacked a go-to scorer down the stretch in games and Wade can fill that void, even at this point in his career.

Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Utah Jazz receive: Sacramento Kings receive:
Rodney Hood SG Derrick Rose PG (waived) Joe Johnson SG (waived)
George Hill PG Jae Crowder F Iman Shumpert SG
2020 2nd round pick (via Miami)

CLEVELAND-This move is a bit surprising considering considering the Lakers deal that was made earlier in the day, but it is still a good one. Rodney Hood, averaging a career high 16.8 points per game, can stretch the floor offensively and is a versatile defender too. George Hill is a reliable veteran point guard that LeBron can trust to handle the basketball at any point. Neither Derrick Rose nor Jae Crowder fit in well with Cleveland this season (not that anyone else really did), so it is not a surprise to see them dealt. Iman Shumpert missed the majority of the season due to injuries and never found a niche with the team either.

UTAH-The Jazz were ready to part with both Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson in the offseason anyway, so why not part with them before the deadline. Hood will be a restricted free agent after the season and will presumably demand an expensive contract. Plus, with the unexpected rise of Donovan Mitchell, Hood didn’t fit into Utah’s future plans. Johnson is now 36 and won’t be a part of Utah’s future either. Jae Crowder serves as a solid role player under a favorable contract.

SACRAMENTO-The Kings signed George Hill to a big contract in the offseason, believing that he would help them contend for the playoffs while buying time for De’Aaron Fox’s development. By January, Sacramento decided to predominantly play younger players in order to give them experience. Therefore, Hill was obviously no longer needed in Sacramento. The Kings received Joe Johnson, Iman Shumpert, and a 2020 second rounder in return. The draft pick is the only return that has any real value for their future.

Recap

Through these transactions, Cleveland cleansed itself of the locker room cutter. The Cavs got rid of the prima donnas and egos and replaced them with younger, hungrier basketball players. The biggest difference for this team on paper is much better defending and 3-point shooting. The players the Cavs disposed of were arguably their worst defenders and 3-point shooters. All four of their acquisitions are versatile athletes that can defend at an elite level and stretch the floor on the offensive side of the ball. In the next couple months we will find out if this infusion of talent is enough to rejuvenate LeBron and his troops for another finals run.

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