The Cleveland Cavaliers remade their roster before the trade deadline Thursday, saying goodbye to Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade, and saying hello to George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance, Jr.
“Well, this only enhances the chances that LeBron stays in Cleveland,” Yahoo! Sports senior NBA writer Chris Mannix said on Tiki and Tierney. “Nothing is at all predictable until we get to (the) summer, but I thought Koby Altman did an absolutely outstanding job with the assets that he had over the last few hours of this deadline. These were deals that the Cavs were working on for days, if not weeks, and they were able to pull the trigger on deals that made them significantly better.”
The Cavs traded Thomas, Frye, and their 2018 first-round pick to the Lakers for Clarkson and Nance.
Thomas played just 15 games for Cleveland and publicly criticized the team on multiple occasions.
“Isaiah really never accepted the fact that he wasn’t Boston Celtics superstar Isaiah Thomas, which is what he was last year,” Mannix said. “He was third or fourth banana on a Cleveland team, and guys in that locker room didn’t like when he ran his mouth like that. So just all the way around, this was a bad fit, which is agent acknowledged to multiple people over the last few hours.”
Hill, on the other hand, is a great acquisition from Sacramento.
“George Hill, even though he struggled defensively in Sacramento, people (there) told me if he got to a contender, he would be a much-improved player,” Mannix said. “This is the same guy that was a starter on those Indiana Pacers teams that made the conference finals. He’s only 31 years old, so he’s going to fit.”
Hood, 25, will also fit well. He averaged 16.8 points in Utah this season.
“Rodney Hood is in my top five list of the most under-appreciated, underrated players in the NBA,” Mannix said. “This was a guy averaging about 17.0 a game, averaging almost 39.0 percent from three. Both of those numbers would put him in the top of the Cavaliers’ rankings right now. He was miscast this year in Utah because Utah hoped that he would step forward and fill the void that Gordon Hayward left. He’s not equipped to do that. What he is equipped to do is be a secondary scorer, which is exactly what Cleveland needs him to be.”
Meanwhile, Clarkson and Nance, both 25, will give Cleveland some much-needed youth and athleticism.
Will these deals put Cleveland over the top in the East? Time will tell.
“I’ve been one of those people that’s predicted Boston all season long to make the conference finals,” Mannix said. “This gives me reason for pause. I have to see how they look over the next month, how they come together in a short period of time, but I thought they did an exceptional job of remaking this team on the fly.”