Despite losing LeBron James in the recent free agency, the Cleveland Cavaliers made it clear that they have no plan to undergo a full-scale rebuild. Their decision to give Kevin Love a massive contract extension showed that the Cavaliers are still aiming to defend their title as Eastern Conference champions in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. After Love, the Cavaliers are also expected to negotiate a contract extension with some of their key players, including Larry Nance Jr.
Since being traded to the Cavaliers before the February NBA trade deadline, Larry Nance Jr. immediately became a fan favorite in Cleveland. Despite having a limited playing time, Nance Jr. has still managed to establish an impressive performance in his first season with the Cavaliers, averaging 8.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.2 steals on 55 percent shooting from the field. The 25-year-old center/power forward is set to become a restricted free agent after the 2018-19 NBA season, but the Cavaliers may no longer wait for July 2019 to give Nance Jr. a new deal.
Earlier this month, Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports revealed that there is an ongoing discussion between Larry Nance Jr. and the Cavaliers regarding a contract extension. Both sides reportedly have a mutual understanding. According to Forbes, Nance Jr. could ink a three-year, $72 million contract extension with the Cavaliers.
“The extension the Cavaliers and Nance are working on would be a maxed out three-year $72 million deal. Realistically, Nance should be making an annual salary of $10-15 million with Cleveland, though. If both sides were to agree to this more reasonable extension, it would be a slam dunk for Cleveland. Nance is a bouncy, high-energy player that showcased a knack for defense during his time with Cleveland last season.”
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) June 16, 2018
In his previous article, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com revealed that the Cavaliers told Larry Nance Jr. that they view him as a foundational piece. If he continues to improve his performance on both ends of the floor and develop his three-point shooting, there is no doubt that Nance Jr. should be part of the Cavaliers’ long-term plan. Nance Jr. could form a formidable frontcourt tandem with Kevin Love, helping the Cavaliers’ lone star in terms of rebounding and addressing his defensive issues.
However, most people will argue if Nance Jr. deserves a three-year, $72 million contract extension. Nance Jr. is a great player but he needs to show a massive improvement in his game to deserve that kind of money. Expect more updates regarding Nance Jr’s contract negotiation with the Cavaliers as the training camp draws near.