NBA trade deadline winners

    The Cavaliers and Lakers made moves with the present and future in mind

    More stories from Scott Procter


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    The LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas experiment didn’t work out as Thomas has a new team and James has new teammates.

    The trade deadline is perhaps one of the most exciting periods of the NBA season. Teams scramble to find and make deals for both the present and the future before the looming deadline of last Thursday happens.

    While this season’s installment of drama didn’t live up to years past, like in 2004 when the Detroit Pistons added Rasheed Wallace or in 2008 when the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol at the deadline, it still had its share of impactful moves.

    Every team is looking to make a move that could spark a championship run like the Lakers and Pistons did, but that is easier said than done. One such trade stole most of the headlines from the deadline period, involving multiple high-profile players and teams. Now that players have a game or two under their belt with their new team, we will look at how two organizations fared in their deadline deal.

    The blockbuster deal of the trade deadline period involved two of the most distinguished franchises in the league: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Lakers. The desperate Cavaliers traded away Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a first-round draft pick to the Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.

    Cleveland followed the move up with another drastic transaction in the form of a three-team trade. Rodney Hood and George Hill will join the Cavaliers while the aging Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade were dealt away halfway through their first season with the team.

    The league’s oldest team and losers of nine of their last 14 games, the Cavaliers had no choice but to make a splash before the deadline if they a) wanted to stay relevant in the NBA Finals race and b) wanted to retain LeBron James after this season.

    The two trades completely jumble Cleveland’s roster and accomplishes a couple of different things. Cleveland gets better and younger in the backcourt, a group that has struggled all season long. Clarkson (25) and Hood (25) provide youth and an improvement in perimeter shooting replacing Wade (36) and Rose (29).

    Isaiah Thomas leaving town is also a welcome sight for Cavaliers fan as he grossly underperformed during his short stint in Cleveland, shooting just 36 percent from the field.

    Thomas’ small frame (5’9) and limitations defensively will be replaced by a larger Clarkson (6’5) in arguably the best season of his young career, boasting a smooth 45 percent shooting percentage. For these reasons, the Cavaliers are a ‘winner’ in this trade.

    The Cavaliers and the Lakers are in two completely different ends of the NBA spectrum. Cleveland has arguably the best player in the league and is looking to win a championship this year while Los Angeles is young and stocking up for the future.

    The Lakers accomplished exactly what they were looking for in this trade by clearing two contracts (Clarkson and Nance Jr.) and putting themselves in a position to offer two maximum contracts this summer. New Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson may very well end up pursuing James and Paul George, or two other stars like them.

    The trade has put Los Angeles in a position to look completely different this time next year. With the potential to add two superstars alongside last year’s No. 2 overall pick in the draft and other young pieces, the Lakers could be the league’s next Golden State Warriors under Johnson’s guidance. For this reason, Los Angeles is also a ‘winner’ in this blockbuster trade.