CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers were the subject of much debate as the NBA trade deadline approached on Thursday afternoon, and after much discussion, they were able to work a four-player deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Multiple reports confirmed that in exchange for point guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Larry Nance Jr., the Cavaliers sent point guard Isaiah Thomas, power forward Channing Frye and their first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft to the Lakers.
Because of sending their own pick to the Lakers, the Cavaliers are now unable to deal the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected selection in 2018, which is close to being the No. 1 overall choice.
In the minutes following the deal, reaction on social media was swift.
There were those were critical of the deal, especially considering Thomas was one of the centerpieces of the trade that sent multi-time Eastern Conference All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics back in August.
Then, there were Cavaliers fans who were happy to see Thomas go after he was plagued by inefficiency since returning from a hip injury that cost him the first two-plus months of the season.
Limited to 15 games while recovering from the hip injury, Thomas made just 36.1 percent of his shots from the field, 25.3 percent of his three-pointers and committed 2.7 turnovers per contest over an average of 27.1 minutes of play.
The shooting percentages are the worst single-season showings of Thomas’ career, and his turnover average is his second-highest ever.
This season, Clarkson is averaging 14.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 0.7 steals over 23.7 minutes in 53 games, which includes two starts. Clarkson has converted 44.8 percent of his shots from the field, 32.4 percent of his three-point attempts and 79.5 percent of his free throws.
Over his four-year NBA career, Clarkson, 25, has averaged 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals in 273 games. Clarkson is a lifetime 44.2 percent shooter from the field and 33.2 percent from three-point range.
Nance is a now a second-generation Cavalier, as his father wore one of the seven numbers that has been retired to the rafters of Quicken Loans Arena.
A 6-foot-9, 230-pound power forward who played his prep basketball at Revere High School in Richfield, Nance is averaging career highs in points (8.6), rebounds (6.8) and steals (1.4) this season, while shooting 60.1 percent from the field in 42 games for the Lakers.
Nance is averaging 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game over his 168-game NBA career.