The Cavs trade of Larry Nance Jr. stinks, but I’m not ready to write it off as a horrible move. To take it even further, I’m intrigued and am buying on Lauri Markkanen joining the roster.
Naturally, I, like every other Cavs’ fan sitting at home in their favorite locally produced, pro Cleveland T-shirt, loved having Nance on board. He was a link to the glory days of the past, as many of us remember when his father, Larry Sr., teamed Mark Price and Brad Daughtery to make for some magical nights at the old Richfield Coliseum.
Nance wanted to be in Cleveland and was a model citizen. He was a solid player who beat the odds, going from unheralded recruit, to mid-major standout at Wyoming, to bonafide NBA player. And underdog player in an underdog city. The script writes itself.
But get beyond the nostalgia, and the Cavs needed to make this trade, because who exactly on Cleveland’s front court is supposed to score when the new season tips off? Sure, Evan Mobley is intriguing, and while his perimeter game is solid, he’s not going to be out there chucking 3’s.
A buyout for Love seems imminent, making the need for a “stretch four” all the greater. Markkanen fits the job description as someone who shot 40 percent on 3-points last season. He took more attempts from beyond the arc (5.8) than he did 2-pointer (4.4).
Plus, he’s younger–Nance is entering his age 29 season. He’s missed 70 games over the past three seasons. If we talk about not being able to count on Love, then the same has to be said of Nance, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, Nance’s age prohibited him from being a part of this team when it was ready to win–a point the organization still hasn’t hit. The Cavs are certainly not making the playoffs this season, meaning Nance would have one year left on his deal, entering his age 30 season in 2022-2023.
Markkanen won’t turn 25 until May. He fits better playing with Jarrett Allen and Mobley. He signed an extension and is a part of the future. He’s not going to make us forget Nance, but he can be a significant contributor on a team that should seriously contend for the playoffs, hopefully sometime in this lifetime.
Seeing the fan favorites get dealt or walk via free agency is always a bummer, especially when someone such as Nance endears himself so much to the city. All we can do is hope it helps get the Cavs closer to moving in the right direction.