For all the buildup around the Lakers, when the NBA’s trade deadline actually arrived, things looked awfully quiet in El Segundo… until things weren’t.
The purple and gold were front and center in the day’s biggest deal, sending Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and Cleveland’s first round pick in the 2018 Draft. As far as deals go, this qualifies as a BFD, not so much for what it does this season, but the way in which it clears a path for the Lakers going forward. By moving Clarkson and Nance for two expiring deals, L.A. has the ability to open up enough cap space this summer for two max free agents. Or they could roll that money over to the summer of 2019. Or they could make trades, short term deals netting them longer term assets, or really anything they want.
In the words of Rob Pelinka, the Lakers can choose whatever path they want, and in an NBA where cap space is hard to come by, operate in a position of power. What will they do? We discuss.
From there, we talk about how the new guys might fit in. Will Thomas recover from a disastrous tenure in Cleveland? What does this mean for Josh Hart, especially when Lonzo Ball comes back? As for the league at large, did the Cavs do enough to keep LeBron around, or did they just make it that much easier for the Lakers to poach him this summer?
All that, and… well, not more. Just that. But that’s a lot, right?