According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to a trade involving Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor also added the return the Lakers will be getting, which will see Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and the Cavaliers’ 2018 first-round draft pick coming to Los Angeles.
The Lakers and Cavaliers have been rumored for weeks to have been discussing a trade involving Jordan Clarkson. The Lakers have also been including forward Larry Nance in trade talks with Clarkson as the Lakers’ gluttony of forwards has made for a crowded front-court rotation all season long.
Clarkson is in the midst of a resurgence this season, averaging 14.5 points per game. Nance, meanwhile, is averaging 8.6 points and 6.8 rebounds this year in a role both off the bench and in the starting lineup at times this year.
The deal helps the Lakers clear up long-term cap space with Clarkson’s deal set to run through the 2019-2020 season. With the Lakers shifting their focus to the 2019 off-season, this deal will help clear cap space going forward.
Specifically, both Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye are expiring contracts and allow the Lakers a clear path to two max slots this summer. Whether the Lakers will chase two max free agents like LeBron James and Paul George remains unclear, but the path, which was once murky, is no longer such.
While buyouts could be debated, the Lakers intend on keeping both Thomas and Frye for the remainder of the season, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
On the court, after a breakout pair of seasons with the Celtics, Thomas has struggled mightily this year in Cleveland, Thomas is averaging just 14.7 points and 4.5 assists in 15 games with the Cavaliers this season and has been in the center of much of the turmoil in Cleveland.
However, it’s also worth noting that Thomas has a history of wanting to be a Laker, most notably in the summer of 2014 before signing with the Celtics. Thomas also has a long-time connection with Kobe Bryant that could certainly be rekindled in his time in Los Angeles.
Frye, meanwhile, is the prototypical stretch five in the league and should also see a big role on the Lakers. Frye is a career 38.7 percent three-point shooter and is attributed to being a vital part of the Cavs’ title-winning season.
The draft pick acquired by the Lakers from Cleveland, which was originally reported as a lottery-protected pick, has been officially confirmed by the Lakers as a top-three protected pick.