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The Bigger Picture: Lakers Still a Winner in Isaiah Thomas Trade




Losing Jordan Clarkson is a big blow for the Lakers but they will benefit from it in the long run.


"The future is gone!"
"The Lakers just gave away its future!"
"Damn it, Magic!"


These are just some of the initial reactions of the fans of the Los Angeles Lakers just a few hours after they first heard about a blockbuster deal. To begin with, the Lakers have been one of the teams that were looking to make a move before the trade deadline and they did. But why are the fans seem negative about this deal?

In a surprising and yet anticipated move, the Cleveland Cavaliers sent Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Lakers in exchange for Larry Nance Jr. AND Jordan Clarkson.  Many fans were complaining about the fairness of the said deal, saying that Isaiah Thomas hasn't played the same way he used to during his stint with the Boston Celtics. While Channing Frye will be a useful threat especially with regards to his ability to stretch the floor with his outside touch, losing Jordan Clarkson will leave a big hole in the Lakers' offense. Why?

Jordan Clarkson, the 46th pick of the Washington Wizards in the 2014 NBA Draft who was traded right away to the Lakers, went on to be included in the NBA All-Rookie Team and has provided the much-needed spark off the bench this season in 53 games that he played with the Lakers. He has averaged 14 points per game, being the third-leading scorer of the team and the second-best bench scorer in the league.

Here's the catch, folks. Both Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye are coming into LA with expiring contracts so the Lakers will have additional cap space come the free agency because of the unlikelihood that both will re-sign with the team. Additionally, the deal also sent a possibly top-5 pick from the Cavs which gives the Lakers additional asset which they can develop to continue their rebuilding process.

But, one of the most important benefits of the deal is that the Lakers are now free of paying for the salaries of Clarkson and Nance Jr. plus if Julius Randle decides to go elsewhere, this will mean that the Lakers will now have the cap space to offer not just one but TWO MAX DEALS to two potential stars.  Mind you, Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins are said to be leaning towards testing the free agency. Not to mention, the possibility of seeing LeBron James going to Hollywood.


Conclusion

While it appeared that the Lakers have lost big, they will actually gain more in the future and who knows, this deal might have actually helped them lure big names because of the big amount of money that they would have come July 2018 and not to mention, the possibility of playing alongside Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. 


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