Isaiah Thomas was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
According to ESPN, Thomas and forward Channing Frye go to the Lakers in exchange for guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Larry Nance Jr. The Lakers will also receive a protected first-round pick.
Thomas said Wednesday night he hoped to remain in Cleveland, but his defensive issues and a shooting percentage hovering at 36.1 percent created tension in the Cleveland locker room, according to reports.
“I’m tired of being traded. That’s not a good thing, but I just want to be where I’m wanted,” Thomas said. “I like it here. It hasn’t been as planned, but I definitely want to be here. We definitely have a real chance to win an NBA championship, and I want to be a part of that.”
In an interesting plot twist, the deal with Cleveland sets Los Angeles up to have the type of excess salary-cap space necessary to make a run at LeBron James in July. 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.
Thomas is playing on an expiring contract — he will become a free agent in July — which made him attractive for the Lakers.
Clarkson is averaging 22.1 points and 5.0 assists per game this season.
Thomas has played for the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics and Cavaliers. He was acquired from Boston in the offseason trade involving Kyrie Irving. But since returning from rehabilitation of a hip injury, Thomas has been inconsistent.
Clarkson is owed $26 million over the next two seasons and Nance, who was drafted 27th overall in 2015, has one year remaining on his rookie contract at just $2.2 million. Nance is averaging 8.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
–Field Level Media