The moment the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Larry Nance Jr. was a special one simply because he was allowed to not only play for the team his dad once played for, but he was able to wear his dad’s retired No. 22 while donning the wine and gold as well.
Able to return to the place where he grew up and once considered his favorite team, it was a huge moment for Nance and his family. Luckily, he didn’t allow the moment to get too big for him or try to follow in his dad’s footsteps too much. Due to that, the Cavs and Nance have mutual interest in a long-term extension. Both sides have “a ton” of interest in an extension and Cleveland views Nance as a “foundational piece”, according to cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.
Luckily for both sides, the big man will still be able to suit up for the Cavs in 2018-19 even if an extension is not reach due to the 25-year-old entering the final year of his rookie contract. He is set to be paid a little over $2.2 million next season before becoming a restricted free agent next summer, which would allow the Cavaliers to match any offer he would receive from another team across the league.
In 24 regular-season games with the Cavs (10 starts), the athletic forward-center averaged a career-high 8.9 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 55 percent from the field in 20.8 minutes a game. Although he had some ups and downs during the postseason, Nance had a solid first playoff run, to say the least. Whether it was his energy or what he brought defensively, his 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 15.4 minutes a night, the energetic big man brought so much more than what showed up in the box score.
He’s not a star in the NBA, but Nance is a very solid forward-center that can either be inserted into the starting lineup or come off the bench. Either way, he makes sure to maximize his playing time while helping his team be the best they can possibly be.
The Cavs and Nance are in no rush to get an extension signed considering he is still on his rookie deal until the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. It will also depend on if LeBron James leaves or not. If he stays, that would entice the 6-foot-9 big man to remain a Cavalier for the long haul; if he decides to go elsewhere, Nance could do so as well.
The high-flying Nance will most likely stay in Cleveland for the long-term, but hopefully it will be with No. 23 alongside him as well. I mean, he is just another kid from Akron, right?