Larry Nance Jr. was one of the NBA players that the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired in last season's February NBA trade deadline to help LeBron James reclaim the NBA championship title. The Cavaliers succeeded to fully dominate the Eastern Conference for four consecutive years, but they ended up being swept by the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Though he failed to win a ring in his first season in Cleveland, Larry Nance Jr. said he's "grateful" that the Los Angeles Lakers traded him to his hometown team. The 25-year-old power forward said he considered reaching the NBA Finals and playing alongside the best basketball player on the planet as huge accomplishments.
"I'm still grateful for the trade," Nance said, via Los Angeles Times. "I enjoyed my time in L.A. but Cleveland's home for me. … I got to play in the Finals with one of the greatest players ever. I have no regrets about it. I'm happy as hell. Obviously, you want to win every game. You don't get to the NBA without having that kind of a competitive nature. But I think for me as a player, the growth, the mistakes I'm allowed to make, the growth I'm allowed to be in the middle of, it's super beneficial."Without LeBron James, the Cavaliers are struggling in the 2018-19 NBA season and are currently the worst NBA team in the league with a 2-14 record. To make things more complicated, the new face of the Cavaliers' franchise, Kevin Love, is currently on the sideline due to injury and isn't expected to be back until early 2019. As of now, most people believe that it will only be a matter of time before the Cavaliers finally decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild.
Larry Nance Jr. is aware of what kind of team the Cavaliers turned since LeBron James left in the recent free agency. However, for a young player like him, it somewhat became a blessing in disguise because it gave him more opportunity to develop his overall game. The Cavaliers' decision to give Nance Jr. a contract extension proved that they see him as part of their long-term future.
On Wednesday night, Larry Nance Jr. faced his former team, the Lakers, in LeBron James' return at the Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers started the game strong and kept the gap close until the fourth quarter, but they still failed to get the victory. In 18 minutes of action, Nance Jr. posted seven points, nine rebounds, five assists, and one steal on 3-of-8 from the field.