What a trade deadline it was for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs made the first major trade of the day when they sent Isaiah Thomas, Channing Fry, and their 2018 1st-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. Cleveland’s relationship with Thomas did not go well, and ultimately they decided to deal him, Fry, and the pick for two young assets whom they feel will help the team’s chances this year, and in the future. Clarkson and Nance, both only 25 years old, have fought for minutes behind other young emerging players on the Lakers, but they will be given the opportunity to contribute in Cleveland immediately. Clarkson will be a solid guard option off the bench, and Nance will provide an interior presence the Cavs have been missing, especially while Kevin Love is injured.
However, Cleveland was not done making moves. The Cavs then sent Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz for Rodney Hood, as well as Iman Shumpert to the Sacramento Kings for George Hill in a 3-way trade. Hood has scored well and efficiently in Utah but has been stuck behind rookie Donavon Mitchell as he has exploded on the NBA scene. Hood will be a great 3-point threat for the Cavs, and if he shoots well enough, could take JR Smith’s starting spot if he (Smith) continues to struggle. George Hill was in the same boat as Hood, losing minutes to rookie De’Aron Fox. Hill was great last year in Utah and played a vital role on those Pacer’s playoffs teams a few years ago. Even in limited minutes, Hill has averaged 10 points per game and is shooting a career-high 45 percent from the 3-point line this season, and may be the perfect point guard (who does not need the ball to excel and will play defense) to be alongside LeBron.
While Cleveland did increase their chances to go back to the Finals this year, the Cavs deadline moves also helped them out tremendously if disaster strikes and LeBron decides to leave Cleveland in free agency this summer. While of course losing LeBron will be the worst possible thing to happen to the Cavs, they did do a great job in getting pieces to start a rebuilding process. Jordan Clarkson will be under contract until 2020, Nance and Hill until 2019, and they were also able to hold on to the Brooklyn Nets 1st-round pick in the upcoming draft. Hood will be a restricted free-agent in 2018, and there will be a good chance Cleveland re-signs him if he continues to develop into the sharpshooter they hope he will become.
No matter which way you look at it, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2018 NBA trade deadline. They were able to potentially fix holes their roster had, better defensively, and get much younger. Whether it is to make a more formidable run this year or begin preparing for life after LeBron, the Cavs made all the right moves this trade deadline.