The Isaiah Thomas Era in Cleveland is over.
After just 15 games with LeBron James and company, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally made a move to shake things up and they went out to Los Angeles to make it happen. In a season that quickly went from one of James’ best ever to a daily drama with battles between coaches and players after, the Cavs have moved on from Isaiah Thomas.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that the Lakers are sending Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to northeast Ohio. In return, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that, among other pieces, the Lakers will receive Isaiah Thomas.
It’s a huge move for the Cavs, especially since Thomas was the big piece they got in return for Kyrie Irving from Boston over the summer. The value of that return for Cleveland now seems incredibly low.
Not only did Thomas not play until January as he recovered from his hip injury suffered in the postseason, he struggled on both ends of the court for the Cavs, who became a frustrated team with him in the lineup. He also criticized the unity and coaching in Cleveland, which seemed to be the last straw for many.
Wojnarowski reported that the first-round pick in the trade, which is Cleveland’s and not the highly-coveted Brooklyn pick, is protected.
The Cavaliers have been at the center of trade rumors for weeks, and despite Thomas’ on-court struggles, they were able to make a deal that nets them something in return for the point guard. Still, it’s a disappointing end for a player who Cavs fans gave a huge ovation for when he finally made his debut in Cleveland. Unless, of course, the Cavs aren’t done.
The Lakers, meanwhile, hope to be buying low on Thomas as he shakes off the rust and tries to find the spark that made him beloved in Boston. In Frye they also get someone who is familiar with coach Luke Walton.
Los Angeles was long hoping to get Clarkson’s salary off its books, and this deal certainly does that. It also gives them a bit of flexibility in the draft with another pick.