Professional Fil-Am NBA player Jordan Clarkson is leaving the Los Angeles Lakers and heading cross-country to Cleveland, Ohio to play for the Cavaliers as part of a trade made Thursday, February 8.
Also moving to the Cavaliers is Ohio native Larry Nance Jr. whose father Larry Nance Sr. played for the Cleveland team in the late 80s and late 90s.
Point and shooting guard Clarkson and power forward Nance, were traded for the Cavaliers’ point guard Isaiah Thomas and center Channing Frye — both in their final year of contract.
Also part of the deal, the Lakers will get the Cavalier’s protected first-round draft pick in 2018.
The trade, which was made just hours before the deadline, freed up salary space for the Lakers’ 2018-19 season which gives them a chance to pursue superstar players like Lebron James and Paul George who become free agents this summer.
On Friday, February 9, James told reporters that he was eager to start working with the new young teammates who are both 25 years old.
“I think we became a younger team, more athletic. We added some more shooting as well. So, we’ll have to see how it meshes,” said James. “I like the pieces that we have coming in.”
In an Instagram post message to Los Angeles, Clarkson said, “Words can’t express what it meant to me to wear the Purple and Gold. As a kid from Texas, playing for the legendary Lakers was nothing short of a dream come true.”
“For the last four years, this city has watched me grow, LA has become my home and the incredible people here have become my family,” he added, giving shout outs to his teammates by their respective nicknames. “I will continue to show support for this community, even after I leave.”
Clarkson is averaging 14.5 points and 3.3 assists per game this season. From his $50 million contract given by the Lakers summer 2016, he was owed about $26 million over the next two years.
To Cleveland, he said, “I can’t wait to see the city, suit up, bust my ass and give everything I have to bring another championship to The Land!”
Upon learning about the trade, Nance almost shed tears of excitement according to Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman.
“How cool is it for him to come? The kid was in borderline tears when I called him today,” said Altman as reported by The Plain Dealer. “He’s ecstatic to be a part of it.”
Lakers coach Luke Walton said trades are always tough.
“You get close with these guys. And JC and Larry were a huge part of what we’ve been doing in the short time that we’ve been here,” said Walton.
He added, “They’ve been great teammates taking different roles… they’re going to a good situation and will get to experience playoff basketball. I’m happy for them for that. But we’ll miss them, and we’re very thankful for what they’ve given us.”
In his four-year career playing professionally with the Lakers, Clarkson had amassed a large following from not only the the local Fil-Am community, but from across the U.S. and the Philippines.
The quarter-Filipino player’s mother Annette Davis, and grandmother Marcelina Tullao come from Pampanga, Philippines.
On being Fil-Am, Clarkson once told the Asian Journal, “It means a lot — it’s a part of my culture. I feel like a pioneer… with me being a Filipino American in the NBA right now.”
“I know we take a lot of pride and passion in our culture. It’s just something to be proud to be a part of and I’m looking to be involved in many ways, “ he added.
Though moving out of LA, Clarkson’s father Mike assured that his son would continue to represent the Fil-Am community and the Philippines.
“Jordan will go out to Cleveland and still represent Filipinos worldwide. Go Jordan, go!,” said the elder Clarkson. (With reports by Carlos Miguel Cusi Cinco)