Larry Nance Jr. got the opportunity of a lifetime when he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the middle of the 2017-18 season. Cleveland happened to be his hometown team and the old stomping grounds of his father, Larry Sr.
During a recent podcast appearance, the younger Nance admitted that living up to the family name was fun for a while, but it may have eventually run its course. He made sure, though, to express his love for the city and organization.
“It had gone from me really enjoying playing the Larry Nance Jr. thing, in my dad’s footsteps…and at a certain point, it became a little redundant,” the younger Nance said. “I still loved being in Cleveland, still loved having my family around and loved playing for the Cavs, but I needed to step away from all this and go play on a playoff team and really go show what I’ve got.”
It’s not easy trying to follow in the footsteps of the elder Nance. After all, the No. 20 pick of the 1981 NBA Draft earned two of his three All-Star berths while playing for the Cavs. In addition, he helped Cleveland in five playoff runs, falling short of the NBA Finals by just two games in 1992.
On the other hand, the younger Nance has always been more of a role player, although he was a key player off the bench for the Cavs in the 2018 playoffs.
Unfortunately, LeBron James leaving after that postseason to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers transformed Cleveland into a lottery team. It seems the Cavs’ inability to reach the playoffs took a toll on the younger Nance, who, by the looks of it, wanted to be with a contender.
The big man left Cleveland in the 2021 offseason in a trade, finding a new home with the Portland Trail Blazers for part of one season.
Ultimately, the younger Nance once again found himself involved in a trade when the Blazers sent him (along with C.J. McCollum) to the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2021-22 season. With the Pelicans, he finally got his wish of participating again in the playoffs, with the organization securing the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed in 2022 by winning its two play-in matches.
New Orleans faced the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, the elder Nance’s first NBA team, in the opening round of the 2022 playoffs. The younger Nance contributed 9.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game to help his squad take two contests from the Suns before bowing out of the playoffs.
It remains to be seen when the 30-year-old will make an appearance in the playoffs again. But he probably would have a good chance of getting there soon if he were still with the Cavs, who will look to become one of the top teams in the East again this season.