From Isaiah Thomas to Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, the Cleveland Cavaliers loaded up on big names last summer.
None will be there if the Cavaliers get back to the NBA Finals.
In what felt like an unprecedented do-over for a contending team, the Cavaliers simply changed the pieces that weren't fitting for new ones Thursday at the trade deadline.
The Cavaliers acquired Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in the deal with Los Angeles, which also got Channing Frye and a first-round pick from Cleveland.
George Hill came from Sacramento and Rodney Hood from Utah as the Cavaliers dealt away Rose, Wade, Jae Crowder and Iman Shumpert -- changing nearly half their rotation. Joe Johnson (Little Rock Central, Arkansas Razorbacks) also was involved in the middle of the Jazz-Cavaliers-Kings dealings, eventually landing in Sacramento from Utah.
All that wheeling-and-dealing stole headlines even with nearly two-thirds of the league making deals.
The Los Angeles Lakers were the other newsmakers on deadline day -- though their moves were to try to win this summer, not this season. Their deal with the Cavaliers, in which they acquired Thomas, got them out of future salary and set themselves up to offer perhaps two maximum contracts in free agency.
"This is what I came here to do, was to create flexibility for our organization," Lakers President Magic Johnson said, "so that one day we can have a superstar or two come to this organization with our incredible young talent that we have, that we will continue to grow."
Wade returned to Miami, mending fences with Pat Riley and finding a soft landing in a place where he won three championships following the fallout in Cleveland. The Heat struggle to score and used a second-round pick to bring back the player who did that more than anyone else for their franchise.
"The fact that he decided to come off the bench in Cleveland has minimized and also limited his opportunities to do certain things that he has always been capable of doing, so I would imagine he would morph right back into the role of being a scorer, a front-line scorer for us, a crunch-time scorer for us, a defender on the ball in niche situations," Riley said.
Most of the moves outside Cleveland on Thursday were minor, for a few reasons.
One is so many difference-making players had already been traded, from Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Jimmy Butler in the summer to Blake Griffin last week. There simply weren't many blockbuster deals left to be made.
Also, teams have become hesitant to trade first-round picks, which teams often want when they're dealing a top player. But teams like keeping their picks because it allows them to have affordable talent for a few years on rookie contracts.
"Draft picks, especially first-rounders, are becoming like gold to a lot of franchises," Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. "In these markets where cost-certainty for a young player is something you can have, it's a big thing."
Some players traded Thursday were immediately waived. Players who are on NBA rosters have to be waived by March 1 to be eligible to play for another team in the postseason.
There were some teams that didn't want to wait and did some tinkering Thursday.
Detroit, unbeaten since acquiring Griffin from the Clippers, acquired point guard Jameer Nelson from Chicago. The Denver Nuggets brought in Devin Harris and sent out Emmanuel Mudiay in a three-team trade with New York that landed Doug McDermott in Dallas.
At a glance
THURSDAY’S NBA TRANSACTIONS
ATLANTA HAWKS — Acquired and later waived F Okaro White from Miami for F Luke Babbitt.
BOSTON CELTICS — Signed C Greg Monroe. BROOKLYN NETS — Acquired F Dante Cunningham from New Orleans for G Rashad Vaughn.
CHICAGO BULLS — Acquired and later waived C Willie Reed and the right to swap 2022 second-round draft picks from Detroit for G Jameer Nelson. Acquired F Noah Vonleh and cash considerations from Portland for the draft rights to C Milovan Rakovic.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS — Acquired G Jordan Clarkson and F Larry Nance Jr. from the Los Angeles Lakers for G Isaiah Thomas, F Channing Frye and a 2018 protected firstround draft pick.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES — Traded F James Ennis to the Detroit Pistons for G Brice Johnson and a 2022 second-round draft pick.
MIAMI HEAT — Acquired G Dwyane Wade from Cleveland for a protected 2024 second-round draft pick. Waived C AJ Hammons.
NEW YORK KNICKS — Acquired G Emmanuel Mudiay from the Denver Nuggets in a three-way trade that included the Dallas Mavericks. Denver acquired G Devin Harris from Dallas and the Mavericks acquired G Doug McDermott from New York.
PHOENIX SUNS — Aquired G Elfrid Payton from the Orlando Magic for a 2018 second-round draft pick. Waived G Isaiah Canaan. WASHINGTON WIZARDS — Traded G-F Sheldon Mac and cash considerations to Atlanta for a protected 2019 second round draft pick.
Utah Jazz guard Joe Johnson (6) looks for a pass in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, in Salt Lake City.
Guard Isaiah Thomas was traded Thursday by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Larry Nance Jr.
Sports on 02/09/2018
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