CLEVELAND -- Larry Nance Jr. is coming home to Northeast Ohio, and will be joining the very same Cleveland Cavaliers organization his father, Larry Sr., spent seven seasons playing for during his NBA career.
Part of a trade between the Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers ahead of Thursday’s deadline, Nance was said to be very emotional when hearing the news that he was heading to Cleveland.
“Larry Nance Jr., how cool is it for him to come home?” Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said in a conference call with the Cleveland media late Thursday night.
“The kid was in borderline tears when I called him today. He’s ecstatic to be a part of it. He’s going to be a core piece for us moving forward. Basketball IQ, athleticism, work ethic. Again, a cultural piece that we’re excited about.”
Nance Jr. was born in Akron, Ohio, and played for Revere High School in Richfield before taking his game to the next level at the University of Wyoming.
During his senior season at Revere, Nance averaged 18.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 2.6 steals and 2.3 assists per game. With Nance, Revere finished the 2010-2011 season with a school-record 21-2 mark and won a second straight Suburban League Championship with a perfect 13-0 slate.
In Nance’s final two years, Revere had a 40-6 overall record, 28-0 mark in league games and was a two-time District finalist.
Nance is Revere’s all-time leader in blocked shots in a game, season and career.
“I think he’s excited,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said at shootaround Friday. “I know his parents are excited to have him come back.
“We’re excited to have him. He’s a versatile guy, can play the four or the five, can switch a lot defensively, is a great offensive rebounder, gets to all the loose 50-50 balls, great hands defensively, so we’re excited to have him.”
Nance Jr. was involved in the first of three deals the Cavaliers made in the final hours ahead of the deadline.
The Cavaliers acquired Nance Jr. and point guard Jordan Clarkson 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.
Later in the afternoon, the Cavaliers acquired point guard George Hill from Sacramento and southpaw shooting guard Rodney Hood from Utah.
A 6-foot-9, 230-pound power forward, Nance averaged career highs in points (8.6), rebounds (6.8) and steals (1.4), while shooting 60.1 percent from the field in 42 games for the Lakers this season, his third since being selected with a first-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Nance has averaged 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals in his 168-game NBA career.
“He’s been more than just a defensive guy,” Cavaliers small forward LeBron James said. “He’s a guy that can make the 15-foot jumper if you lay off of him. He runs the floor exceptionally well. You can give him a pocket pass or you can throw him a lob and he can finish at the rim. He’s going to add more speed and athleticism to our offense and defense, so he’s more than just a defensive guy.”