Bringing back a Cleveland favorite
Two summers ago, the Cavaliers completed a sign-and-trade with the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trailblazers to acquire Lauri Markkanen. In that deal, Cleveland sent Larry Nance, Jr., son of Cavs legend Larry Nance, to Portland. Since then, Nance, Jr. landed himself with the New Orleans Pelicans and has continued to be a solid role player in the NBA.
As the NBA Draft came and went, a number of reports suggested that the Pelicans were targeting a trade for Jarrett Allen. In return, the Cavs would purportedly get Jonas Valanciunas, as NOLA wanted a defense-first, traditional center next to Zion Williamson.
The deal never happened. The Cavaliers were not interested in shipping Allen at the draft.
Should the Pelicans still have interest in Allen in the midseason, then Cleveland may have an intriguing trade partner.
Here’s the deal:
If the Cavs are moving Mobley to the five, trading for an offensive center would seem redundant. Perhaps a third team is involved for New Orleans to unload Valanciunas, but this would answer each team’s questions if it happened.
For the Cavaliers, they bring in two players who can play multiple positions of need and receive a possible first-round pick from the Bucks. The Milwaukee will almost certainly not materialize into anything shockingly valuable, but an extra first-round pick is certainly the value one of the best defensive centers deserves.
Herbert Jones, a 6-foot 7-inches forward, would likely start at the four spot next to Mobley, though he could play backup minutes at the small forward as well.
As for the Ohio native Nance, Jr., his return would place him in a backup big role, both as a power forward and center. Additionally, the return of Larry Nance, Jr. would boost the Cavaliers’ culture, as he developed a strong connection with nearly every teammate in Cleveland.
With Pete Nance on the Cleveland Charge in the G-League, a Nance family reunion would be a tremendous sight for the Cavs.
On the other side of the deal, the Pelicans gain the traditional center they are seeking without losing any of their core players. They also acquire a pass-first point guard to serve as a veteran leader for a young core needing to develop. Right now, NOLA does not have a pure point guard, and Rubio gives them that.
The fact that an extra team would need to be involved if New Orleans does not want to keep Valanciunas and Allen may complicate this trade too much for either side.
For the next trade, the Cavaliers negotiate with a young team needing to find a defensive identity.