Kevin Durant reacts to Isaiah Thomas trade

Doug Mendoza
February 9, 2018

First of all, there are a lot of different directions this trade could go. Nance could play a more prominent role with the Cavaliers while Kevin Love mends from a broken hand. Thomas missed 36 games while recovering from a hip injury. It's also forced Washington to change the date it was planning to retire the jersey of standout guard Isaiah Thomas. It probably was never going to work, and that's before we got to defensive issues.

This does not take the Cavaliers out of contention, because they got two solid players in return. If that is the case, this very well could be the move that really ends James' reign over the East, and leads to his eventual departure (which probably would have happened anyways). The Cavs traded six players, including Thomas, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, and two future draft picks in moves created to not only help them in the short term but could potentially help keep LeBron James beyond this season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were the subject of much debate as the National Basketball Association trade deadline approached on Thursday afternoon, and after much discussion, they were able to work a four-player deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

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The Cavs needed to make a move. On top of all that, we still can not take Thomas' play for granted.

But one player who did not get traded reacted nearly immediately to the news. Considering Irving's public desire to leave, that's a pretty sensational haul overall-one that sets them up with a promising young core of players around whom they can rebuild in the event LeBron James leaves this summer.

Thomas is now shooting a healthy 46.4 percent on pull-ups, and makes for an intriguing pick-and-roll partner with Julius Randle, who ranks among the NBA's most efficient rolling big men. The Thomas trade was the first domino to fall for the Cavaliers, followed by all the others. The Lakers and first-year general manager Rob Pelinka untie themselves from long-term commitments - namely to Clarkson - that could have prevented the flexibility to add James or Paul George, two of the top potential free agents this summer. Packaging their young players with Luol Deng's bad contract was their pathway forward, but they have yet to find a trade partner and seem settled on addressing this after the season.

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