The All-Star break has arrived, and next week the second half of the season will begin, which means it’s about time for things to get serious. That’s not to say teams haven’t been trying up to this point, just that the last few months are when teams really find out what they’re about.
Part of that process is first determining if they’re a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline, which this year is set for March 25. Because of the pandemic, the congested standings and the addition of the play-in tournament, there might not be many of the latter this year. But that isn’t stopping playoff teams from trying to figure out who might be available.
One player that’s apparently on a lot of teams’ list is Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. The Cavs have received more calls about him than any other player, and the likes of the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics are among the teams interested, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. However, at this point, the Cavs are setting a high price and aren’t looking to move Nance.
Unless something drastically changes over the next three weeks or Cleveland gets completely blown away by an offer it can’t refuse, don’t expect any of those five to go anywhere — even though calls keep coming and strong offers have been made for Nance, including one package with multiple late first-round picks, sources tell cleveland.com.
Nance would help a lot of teams and he’s on a multi-year bargain deal that makes it easy to come up with matching salaries. He’s the kind of versatile piece that contenders covet because of his defense, playmaking, shooting and impact on winning. According to sources, Nance is the player the Cavs have received the most calls about. Sources say the Minnesota Timberwolves have been aggressively pursuing him since the offseason. Nance’s old teammate and buddy D’Angelo Russell is a strong Nance advocate. Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Miami and Dallas have also shown interest.
For what it’s worth, Nance commented on the situation himself on Twitter, and it doesn’t seem like he’s in a hurry to get out of Cleveland. “Hope everyone is having a happy Friday,” Nance wrote. “Except those people that keep putting me in their mock trades.”
A terrific defender and improving 3-point shooter, Nance was a major factor in the Cavaliers’ surprise start. But he hasn’t played since Feb. 6 due to a fractured finger that required surgery. During that time, the Cavaliers have gone 4-8, and now have the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference. However, due to the state of the playoff race in the East, they’re only 2.5 games out of the final play-in tournament spot, and Nance is due back shortly after the All-Star break.
Nance’s ability to guard multiple positions in the frontcourt and space the floor makes it obvious why contenders would want to acquire him, but those same traits will make the Cavs hesitant to give him up. Things can obviously change, but at least for now, it seems more likely that Nance remains in Cleveland.