The NBA Trade Deadline took place on Thursday, February 8 at 3:00 pm ET. Did any team make a huge splash before the trade deadline? Yep, two teams did. The Cleveland Cavaliers and L.A. Lakers made huge moves before the deadline by trading with each other.
Cleveland absolutely had to do something. The Lakers didn't although what the Lakers managed to do sets them up for future success. Both the Lakers and Cavaliers came out of the trade as winners. Cleveland made another trade that I examine.
Check out my examination of both of the Cleveland Cavaliers' trades before the deadline. I had an acquisition by the Phoenix Suns that could be huge.
L.A. Lakers trade PF Larry Nance Jr. and G Jordan Clarkson to the Cleveland Cavaliers for PG Isaiah Thomas, PF Channing Frye, and Cleveland's 2018 Round 1 Draft Pick
Isaiah Thomas just wasn't working out in Cleveland. Thomas deserved a fresh start. So, did the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs shipped Thomas to the Lakers for a young, incredibly talented, guard in Jordan Clarkson. A case could be made that the Lakers sent their two best players at this moment in time to the Cavaliers for Thomas, Channing Frye, and Cleveland's Round 1 Draft Pick.
Clarkson averages 14.5 points, 3 boards, and 3.3 assists per game. Clarkson played 8 straight games in late January and into early February where he scored in double-figures. He had a 3-game stretch where he did everything: 33 points, 7 boards, 7 assists against Indiana on Jan. 19, 29 points, 10 assists, and 6 boards versus the New York Knicks on Jan. 21, and 22 points, 4 assists, and 5 boards on Jan. 23 versus the Boston Celtics.
If utilized correctly, Nance Jr. could be a star. He has the makings of being both a rebounding machine, and a solid post player. His averages of 8.6 points and 6.8 boards per game aren't flashy. But, we must remember, he rarely started for the L.A. Lakers. He should start for the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Feb. 6, Nance Jr. scored 6 points and grabbed 10 boards versus the Portland Trailblazers playing less than 17 minutes. That's a fantastic stat line based on the minutes he played.
The Lakers won't do much with either Isaiah Thomas, or Channing Frye. L.A. wanted to ensure that they could unload big salaries in their quest to sign Paul George and LeBron James. Would James ever go to L.A.? Maybe. In any case, the Lakers will allow Thomas and Frye to search for employment elsewhere after this season.
The Lakers now have $70 million to spend on free agents this summer. That's excellent news for Laker fans. Some major free agent is going to want to play in L.A. Why not? No matter what anybody tells you, Los Angeles is a Laker and Dodger town. Always will be.
SG Rodney Hood and G George Hill go to the Cleveland Cavaliers, PG Derrick Rose and F Jae Crowder head to Utah, the Sacramento Kings get G Iman Shumpert and G Joe Johnson
George Hill is a real point guard. Hill is an upgrade from Isaiah Thomas, who just didn't fit in with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hill's been a solid point-guard in the NBA for years. His averages aren't very good. That's because he doesn't push anything. He might be the most pure point-guard that LeBron's ever played with in The King's entire career.
Utah must be trying to find cap space as well. Derrick Rose's career is pretty much over while Jae Crowder is a serviceable utility forward at best. It's impossible to do much with either one of those players. The Kings picked up a couple of players that they'll most likely cut during the off-season, or resign to low-cost contracts. Neither Iman Shumpert, nor Joe Johnson, has much left to offer. Shumpert, at least, is a decent three-point shooter and defender. Joe Johnson probably should have retired 2 years ago.
How Will the Cavaliers New Roster Affect NBA Fantasy?
The Cavaliers got better without trading Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, or LeBron. George Hill figures to move into the starting PG spot. Smith should maintain his position while Clarkson backs him up. Nance will move into the power forward spot. The starting five projects to look like this:
C – Tristan Thompson
PF – Larry Nance Jr.
F – LeBron James
G – J.R. Smith
PG – George Hill
Once Kevin Love returns, he'll move into the power forward position while Nance should come off the bench. You never know, though. The Cavaliers feel they can beat the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. They also feel they can take down whomever wins the Western Conference. That means coach Tyronn Lue won't waste time if Love doesn't came back 100%. He'll play Nance as long as Nance produces.
The player that the new starting five really figures to help is J.R. Smith. Hill is a fantastic point-guard. He'll find ways to get Smith to the hoop, or free for spot up 3-point shots. LeBron's always going to get his fantasy points. Never worry about The King. Smith, though, can be up or down. Don't just blindly add J.R. to your daily NBA Fantasy teams. However, if he's offering decent value, by all means, take a look at adding him.
Nance Jr., especially while Love remains out, should offer value in most NBA Daily Fantasy contests. Nance Jr. always produces. It doesn't matter how many minutes he gets. He produces every time he steps onto the court. Clarkson is instant offense. He's must add on many fantasy teams because Lue should institute him into the line-up any time the Cavaliers need a few buckets.
PG Elfrid Payton heads to Phoenix
The Phoenix Suns traded for Elfrid Payton before the trade deadline. Payton's presence in the Valley of the Sun could have a huge effect on NBA Fantasy. Payton's value took a big dip this season. He's averaging 13 points, 4 boards, and 6.3 assists after having huge fantasy games last season.
Could Payton turn it around with the Phoenix Suns? I think he could. He automatically makes the Suns better. He's a true point-guard with upside potential. Josh Jackson can now move to his more natural shooting guard position. Jackson won't have to play the point when Tyler Ulis is out of the game (which is often!).
The Suns have suddenly put together a decent, young, starting five: PG Elfrid Payton, SG Josh Jackson, SF Dragan Bender, C Marquese Chriss, PF T.J. Warren. Don't be surprised if all five of Phoenix's starters increase their fantasy production.