Posted on February 8, 2018, by Travis Pulver
Fans wanted to see the Cleveland Cavaliers make a trade deadline move to get the team on track. They were not expected to do so. But then they did in what will likely be the most prominent move made at the trade deadline this year.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavs decided they’ve seen enough of Isaiah Thomas and shipped him off to the Los Angeles Lakers along with Channing Frye and a protected first-round pick. In return, they picked up Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
Thomas joined the Cavs during the offseason as part of the blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston. But due to a hip injury, he had only been active for the last 15 games (in which the team went 7-8). He averaged just 14.7 points in those games.
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For someone new and not having played much, he has made a number of critical comments to the media about the team. His most recent was directed at the Cavs inability to make in-game adjustments, sometime Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said was simply “not true.”
However, the Cavaliers have led at the half of several games in recent weeks only to get blown out in the second half. So, it is not hard to see where Thomas was coming from.
So—why trade Thomas?
Recent reports about the team not getting along could be a factor. If other guys agreed with him, it is not hard to see why there may be some dissension in the ranks. It could be argued that they are professionals and should be able to put their differences aside. But that can be hard to do so.
According to the rumors, the coaches have had to coach effort more than basketball.
Maybe by trading Thomas, if he is the cause, the dissension will dissipate. Maybe then the Cavs can get back to playing quality basketball. It could also be because Thomas is going to become a free agent. He has made it clear he expects to be paid very well with his next contract.
Rather than see him walk in free agency, they got something for him while his value is still high.
There is reason to believe that LeBron James may have been aware of the team’s desire to trade Thomas. Or maybe, he simply doesn’t like him. After he hit the buzzer beater in Wednesday night’s 140-138 overtime win over the Timberwolves, it appears that he excludes Thomas from the celebration.
Following the win, Thomas expressed his desire not to get traded again. He said he liked being in Cleveland and believes in the team. He arrived in Cleveland via trade just last August. The Sacramento Kings dealt him to the Phoenix Suns in July 2014. The Suns turned around and sent him to Boston in February 2015.
It appears that the only constant for Thomas is change. Chances are Thomas will not be long for the Lakers either. The trade helps them clear up salary cap space. They have made it no secret that they want to make a run at high-priced free agents in the offseason. If they are going to do that, they will not want to pay Thomas like he wants.
But the Cavs were not done!
While fans were still processing the Thomas trade, the Cavaliers completed a three-team trade that effectively revamps the team’s roster. They are sending Iman Shumpert and a 2020 second-round pick to the Sacramento Kings. Cleveland will also be sending Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to the Utah Jazz. The Cavs get Rodney Hood and George Hill. Sacramento will get Joe Johnson.
Dwyane Wade is also being shipped back to the Miami Heat for a heavily protected second-round pick.
Tyronn Lue will now have 19 games to turn the new Cavs into a contender and keep from getting fired in the offseason.