CLEVELAND -- Would the Cleveland Cavaliers make a deal to better themselves ahead of the NBA trade deadline Thursday?
That was the big question posed about the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions, and the Cavaliers answered that queries in a big way, as in a little over 90 minutes, they made three deals which sent away six players and a draft pick in exchange for four younger athletes.
The first domino fell when the Cavaliers acquired point guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Larry Nance Jr. from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for point guard Isaiah Thomas, power forward Channing Frye and their first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
An hour later, the Cavaliers sent shooting guard Iman Shumpert to the Sacramento Kings, as well as point guard Derrick Rose and small forward Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz in exchange for shooting guard Rodney Hood (Utah) and point guard George Hill (Sacramento).
To complete the deal, the Jazz sent Joe Johnson to Sacramento.
Here is a look at how the Cavaliers got better with their trades Thursday.
ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION
Limited to 15 games while recovering from a hip injury that ended the 2016-2017 season with two games to play in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavaliers, Thomas made just 36.1 percent of his shots from the field, 25.3 percent of his three-pointers and committed 2.7 turnovers per contest over an average of 27.1 minutes of play.
The shooting percentages are the worst single-season showings of Thomas’ career, and his turnover average was his second-highest ever.
Needing to be in a ball-dominant system, Thomas did not have much time to find his niche, and then, in a team meeting earlier this year, called out power forward Kevin Love for leaving a game early because of an illness.
At times, in Wednesday’s 140-138 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thomas appeared to be frustrated for not getting the ball, and then, was iced out of the celebration as LeBron James exchanged high-fives and chest bumps with nearly every one of his teammates.
DEPTH, YOUTH IN RETURN
This season, Clarkson averaged 14.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 0.7 steals over 23.7 minutes in 53 games with the Lakers. Clarkson converted 44.8 percent of his shots from the field, 32.4 percent of his three-point attempts and 79.5 percent of his free throws.
In 273 games over his four-year NBA career, Clarkson, 25, has averaged 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals. Clarkson is a lifetime 44.2 percent shooter from the field and 33.2 percent from three-point range.
Nance is a now a second-generation Cavalier, as his father wore one of the seven numbers that has been retired to the rafters of Quicken Loans Arena.
A 6-foot-9, 230-pound power forward who played his prep basketball at Revere High School in Richfield, Nance averaged career highs in points (8.6), rebounds (6.8) and steals (1.4) this season, while shooting 60.1 percent from the field in 42 games for the Lakers.
Nance has averaged 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals in his 168-game NBA career.
In his fourth season out of Duke University, the 6-foot-8 Hood is averaging a career-best 16.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.8 steals over 27.8 minutes in 39 games while shooting 42.4 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from three-point range and 87.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Despite playing in a career-low 39 games thus far this season, Hood, 25, is shooting career-best percentages from the field, three-point range and the charity stripe.
PROFICIENCY AND PRODUCTION
Hill was the subject of many reports and rumors over the last four weeks, and he brings nearly 10 years of NBA experience to Cleveland.
Over 43 games in his first season with the Kings, Hill averaged 10.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists over 26.6 minutes. He shot 46.9 percent from the field, 45.3 percent from three-point range and 77.8 percent from the free-throw line with the Kings.
While his points, rebounds and assists averages were lower than any of the last six seasons, Hill’s shooting percentage from the field is the third-highest of his career, and he has never shot better from three-point range.