After shelling out a first-round pick to acquire him at this year's trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in locking up big man Larry Nance Jr. long term, and the feeling is reportedly mutual.
Nance becomes eligible for an extension on July 1, and there's "a ton" of interest on both ends to negotiate a deal, sources told Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon.
If the two sides can't reach an agreement before the start of the 2018-19 season, Nance will play out the last year of his rookie-scale contract (valued at just under $2.3 million) and become a restricted free agent next summer.
Nance's connection to the franchise goes beyond the 44 games he played for Cleveland after coming over from the Lakers in that deadline-day deal. He's a second-generation Cavalier, born in Akron while his father, Larry Nance Sr., was playing out the tail end of his career in Cleveland.
According to Vardon's sources, the Cavs have told Nance they view him as a key foundational piece for their future.
The 25-year-old averaged 8.9 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and 1.2 steals during the 2017-18 regular season with the Cavs, but his production tailed off in the playoffs amid a fluctuating role. His averages dipped to 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds, and although the Cavs had been 5.4 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor in the regular season, they were 3.3 points per 100 better with him on the bench in the postseason.
The Cavs also have LeBron James' unrestricted free agency to worry about, so Nance won't be at the top of their priority list. The particulars of his potential extension will likely depend on what happens with James.