New Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman blew up the roster before Thursday's 3 p.m. trade deadline, with three major deals apparently made in hopes of convincing four-time league MVP LeBron James to remain in Cleveland after this season.
James had been increasingly upset about the Cavs' roster inadequacies in his quest to bring a second championship to Cleveland and the chances seemed greater in recent days that James would opt out of his contract in July and sign elsewhere.
First the Cavs conceded that point guard Isaiah Thomas was not a good fit and sent the two-time All-Star to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Akron native Larry Nance Jr. The Cavs announced the deal shortly before the deadline passed.
"Jordan and Larry add athleticism, energy and length to both ends of the court for us. This trade is also a reflection of our continuing commitment to invest in our roster in ways that help us evolve and compete at the highest level now and into the future," Altman said in a statement.
The deal also includes the Cavs' top-three protected first-round pick in the 2018 draft and Channing Frye.
Nance, a Revere High School product, is the son of former Cavs star Larry Nance, who played in Cleveland from 1987-94.
"Channing Frye is a champion, true pro and great person. He has been part of a special group of teammates on and off the court for us, as his impacts were both tangible and intangible. It is difficult to see him go and we wish Channing and his family the very best," Altman said in a statement of Frye, part of the 2016 NBA championship team. "IT has had a difficult and very challenging basketball journey over the last year as he has worked extremely hard to make progress in his return to play. He is a true competitor and that will certainly help him in his continued work on the court."
The Cavs are not permitted by league rules to trade two first-round picks in the same year, which meant they retained the protected Brooklyn Nets selection acquired in the Aug. 22 trade with the Boston Celtics.
But that was just the beginning of the Cavs' roster transformation. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavs sent Iman Shumpert and the Miami Heat's 2020 second-round pick to the Sacramento Kings in a three-team deal that will bring George Hill and Rodney Hood to Cleveland. Trade partner Utah will receive the Cavs' Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose, with the Jazz sending Joe Johnson to Sacramento. According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Cavs also sent the Kings $2.1 million.
Minutes later, Wojnarowski reported that the Cavs had traded Dwyane Wade to Miami for a heavily protected second-round pick. Wade and James have been best friends since they met at a pre-draft camp in 2003, but Windhorst reported via Twitter that the Cavs coaching staff had been considering reducing Wade's minutes.
Thomas, 29, said he didn't want to be traded after Wednesday night's home victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Since he was drafted in 2011, Thomas has now been dealt four times: From Sacramento to Phoenix in July, 2014, from Phoenix to Boston in February, 2015, from Boston to Cleveland and from Cleveland to the Lakers.
"I'm tired of being traded. That's not a good thing," Thomas said Wednesday. "But I just want to be where I'm wanted. I like it here. It hasn't been as planned, but I definitely want to be here. We definitely have a real chance to win an NBA championship and I want to be a part of that."
According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers intend to keep both Thomas and Frye.
Frye said goodbye to Cavs fans in an Instagram video not long after the trade.
"Just want to say thank you to all the Cavs fans, Cleveland, everybody," Frye said. "Business is business. Hey, I'm off to the Lakers. It happens, I'm excited. Nice, great young team. And word to everybody, don't go 0 for 6 or they're going to trade you're (expletive)."
Frye, 34, hit 2-of-9 shots and went 0-for-6 from long range in Wednesday's victory. He had been the subject of trade rumors, mentioned in a possible deal for Hill.
(c)2018 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.