Larry Nance Jr. could help a lot of teams: A small-ball four who understands his role, can be a playmaker when asked, scores 9.3 points and grabs 6.8 boards a game, shooting 38.1% from three, and plays quality defense. He could be plugged straight into the rotation on a lot of teams.
Which is why the Cavaliers are getting a lot of calls about a Nance trade, reports Chris Fedor at Cleveland.com.
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.
But the Cavs keep telling opposing teams that Nance, who is expected to be back in the lineup on March 12 following surgery on his fractured left hand, isn’t available. They recognize what he means to the city and organization. It’s hard to see an immediate path to improvement by sending him away. Who — or what — is considered an upgrade? Altman has even joked with opposing execs about having to trade himself in any Nance deal because fans, coaches and players would quickly turn on him.
This is exactly the kind of thing that a front office should leak if it’s trying to drive up the price for a player.
It’s also true that Nance is tied to the city — his father played there, this is where he wanted to be, he’s great in the community — and he helps the team win on the court. GMs know that if they are trading the fan-favorite away, they better get a haul back for him.
The buzz is the Cavaliers would listen to two late first-rounder picks, or a player and a higher first. We’ll see if any team will put that on the table.
Nance is a name to watch as the trade deadline approaches March 25, but other Cavaliers also could be on the move. The biggest name to watch is Andre Drummond, a rock-solid old-school center who has been sitting out through this process and could help teams such as Toronto and Boston. The challenge is Drummond makes $28.7 million and is a free agent next season, that’s a lot of salary to match for a potential rental.
Expect a lot more Cleveland rumors in the coming weeks.