CLEVELAND — Last month, the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Larry Nance Jr. to the Portland Trail Blazers, sending away a fan favorite and Cleveland native to a new team. Nance, who was known for his grand gestures to give back to the city of Cleveland as part of his initiative to help local businesses being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, made another touching gesture before leaving the Cavs.
General manager Koby Altman shared the story about Nance's departure from Cleveland, saying that Nance had gone around to every front office member and member of the coaching staff to say goodbye in a very personal way.
Nance gave each front office and coaching staff member an autographed jersey and a bottle of wine with a personalized note on each one to thank them for the opportunity to play in his hometown and say goodbye as he prepared to depart to the Trail Blazers.
"It wasn't the same note to each person, it was individualized to each person," Altman recalled. "That's what kind of person Larry Nance is. He keeps his relationships. He knows that he's always going to be a part of the Cavaliers and be a part of this family."
Altman said that while the decision to trade Nance was tough, it was mutually beneficial as Nance wanted to take on a new challenge. But even though Nance has relocated to Portland, Cleveland will always be home.
"This is a guy that's going to spend his offseasons in Cleveland. He's one of the only guys who said 'Thank you for rescuing me from L.A.,'" Altman said. "We haven't heard the last of Larry Nance, not for a long time. He's just a wonderful human being and we wish him nothing but the best."
Nance became a pillar of his hometown after being traded to the Cavs from the Lakers in 2018.
While playing in Cleveland, Nance continued giving back to the community—be it through his COVID-19 initiative, meeting with fans, raising awareness for Crohn's disease of any of the countless other impactful things he took part in—and that's what the Cavs say they'll miss most.
"Obviously we'll miss what he did on the floor but all the other stuff that he brought is most important and that's what we'll miss the most and he should be acknowledged for," said head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. "The things that he did here in this community, the way that he brought his teammates together in that leadership role and help mentor younger players—those are the things that will mostly be missed and that speaks to his character as a person."
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