Teams already are lining up for an audience with The King should he turn down $36.5 million and opt out of his contract. It seems extremely unlikely Thomas would return to Cleveland next season, unless something changed dramatically between now and the end of the season.
Cleveland got rid of six players and brought in four new ones as part of their roster reshaping.
By making the moves, the Cavaliers not only got more athletic but also improved their backcourt to take a bit of the pressure off LeBron. We got to figure it out.
All it took was a massive makeover. Since entering the league in 2015, Nance has been praised for his defensive tenacity and nose for the ball on the glass, two areas which the Cavaliers are in sore need of help.
The Cavaliers have been in a freefall, losing 13 of 20 games since Christmas Day and getting blown out on national TV several times. George Hill brought his steady veteran skill set as the only new player to start for Cleveland; joining LeBron James, J.R. Smith, Cedi Osman and Tristan Thompson to open the game. Perhaps the most immediate impact we'll see from Clarkson will be on the defensive end of the floor where he is an huge upgrade over both Thomas and Wade. "And we didn't want to be a part of that". That's what it was like for Coach Tyronn Lue.
Struggling for form and consistency in the National Basketball Association this season, the Cavs made a splash at the trade deadline, bringing in George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr.as the likes of Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade made way on Thursday.
"You can never count out a team with LeBron", Horford said. Did it fit? Did it work? He's the Batman, and we got to be all Robins. For the record, George Hill scored 17 points, Rodney Hood 14, Jordan Clarkson eight and Larry Nance Jr. four points. Wade was one of James' closest friends who came to Cleveland just to be reunited with his former Miami Heat running mate.
While Altman's main objective was to fix Cleveland's culture, his efforts also were created to appease James, who hasn't been himself in recent weeks.
Altman feels the trades will rejuvenate James. "It's nearly like the new guys have been here".
"I mean, they don't know the plays yet", Lue said after this new iteration of Cavaliers practiced for the first time together Saturday in Atlanta.
Indeed, the Lakers are a young and fast team, but it remains to be seen if Thomas still possesses the lightning-quick speed that allowed him to dominate last season.
Defensively, Cleveland can't get any worse.
He doesn't have any doubts now. "He should be on 'Game of Thrones, '" James said. He has not given the Cavs a long-term commitment in order to keep pressure on owner Dan Gilbert to continue to upgrade the roster.
It also cannot be ruled out that teams like the Houston Rockets and the Philadelphia 76ers will make pitches to James as well, and he could be seeing a brighter future with one of those franchises.