Veteran forward Larry Nance Jr. is getting a new chance to offer his usual dose of athleticism and energy to a contending team — and he sounds pretty happy about it.
Nance is now with the Trail Blazers, arriving in a three-team trade with the Bulls and his hometown Cavaliers. He seems to think he can be a missing piece for a team that always seems on the brink of good things behind guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
“It’s a team I’ve been rooting for in the playoffs for a while now, just feel like it’s impossible to root against a guy like Dame and CJ, seems like they have great guys on the roster,” Nance told Casey Holdahl of the Blazers’ website. “I felt it was an opportunity where I really have a chance to step in and make a difference.”
Nance, 28, is 6-foot-7 and capable of playing all three frontcourt spots. He averaged 9.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in an injury-plagued season with Cleveland last year.
Still, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey described Nance in two words: “Talented” and “versatile.”
Nance will be joining a frontcourt that includes the likes of center Jusuf Nurkic and forward Robert Covington, and will be given every opportunity to become a major (and probably underrated) contributor.
But he admitted leaving Cleveland won’t be easy, calling it “bittersweet.”
“I love (Cleveland), I’m from here, my dad played here, there’s so much history with my family here,” he told Hodahl.
The Blazers now offer him a new reason to be excited.
“This is a team that’s been on the edge of something special for a while now and the higher-ups in the organization deemed me as someone that could help them get higher,” Nance told Holdahl.
“I’m thrilled at the opportunity and I’m really looking forward to taking it. Getting a chance to play with players of this caliber doesn’t come around too often.”