The Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers were the two teams that stole the show during the trade deadline and it all started with the trade that went down between the two teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers sent Isiah Thomas, Channing Frye and their protected 1st-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers from Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. It had been rumored pretty much all season that Jordan Clarkson would be a possible trade possibility but the play of rookie Kyle Kuzma is what made Larry Nance Jr. a movable piece. Isaiah Thomas was clearly not doing well on Cleveland and there was a lot of talk about there being issues within the locker room so it was no surprise that they decided to move on from that experiment, what was the surprise to me was that the Lakers would be the one to take Thomas on.
So the next question is obviously who won this trade? For me I have to give it to the Lakers because they were able to set themselves up to be major players in this years free agent class. By trading Clarkson and Nance they were able to create enough cap space to be able to offer 2 max contracts during free agency. The other plus about this move is that the Lakers now have a 1st round pick again which is very important because the Lakers have done very well in the draft and there is no reason to think that they won’t continue this trend. The only part I dont like about this trade for the Lakers is the fact that they traded for Thomas. Unless the Lakers think that Lonzo Ball who has missed the last 12 games due to a knee injury is going to be out longer than they expected, I don’t see the point in bringing on Thomas. I know that Thomas won’t be with the Lakers after this season, but to bring in a player who caused a rift with his former team into such a young team just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. I am hoping that I am wrong and that the Lakers get the IT that was getting MVP votes but only time will tell and it will be very interesting to see what will happen once Ball gets healthy and those two are on the court with each other.
The Cavaliers basically got a new team at the trade deadline, trading away 6 players and acquiring 4. In addition to getting Clarkson and Nance the Cavs acquire George Hill and Rodney Hood. The Cavs did deal Dwayne Wade back to Miami and sent Iman Shumpert to the Kings. To put the Cavs trades today in perspective, only 4 player remain from the team that won the championship in 2015. Only time will tell if the Cavs truly got better after making this trade. One of the main concerns was chemistry for this team and it’s going to be interesting to see how quickly this team meshes together and can they get it done before the playoffs start. The Cavs have also set themselves up for life without LeBron, a lot of people believe this will be his last season with the Cavs and the fact that the Cavs helped the Lakers clear up enough cap space to land LeBron and a second superstar makes it more believable. Either way the Cavs have put themselves in a position to where they won’t be completely lost if LeBron decides to leave again.