Larry Nance Jr. may have been traded from Cleveland to Portland during the offseason, but he is still willing to defend his former Cavaliers teammates.
Ahead of the 2021-22 season, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix spoke with a few scouts around the NBA to get their unfiltered opinions on every team in the league. One scout who evaluated the Cavaliers had some rather unkind things to say about Collin Sexton, who averaged a career-high 24.3 points and 4.4 assists per game in 2020-21.
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The scout’s thoughts on Sexton and the Cavs, per Mannix:
I think Collin Sexton is a backup and an a—hole. None of his teammates like him. I like [Darius] Garland. I actually like Garland. I think he plays hard. He puts pressure on you because he can shoot, he can pass, and he’s a much more willing passer. He’s not out there trying to f—ing get his stats and go home in the same way that Sexton is. I don’t think they can play those two small guards together and get a ton out of them. I thought they were on the right track last year until they traded for Jarrett Allen and basically told [Andre] Drummond we’re not bringing you back, because defensively they were hanging around that top 10 area … Evan Mobley to me seems like he’s the real deal in terms of his talent, his skillset. Again, he’s a rookie who floated some in college so we’ll see how that goes. Not a big Jarrett Allen guy. He’s fine but nothing crazy. [Isaac] Okoro seems like he’s got the potential to be a pretty damn good defender but I don’t know how much more than that.
Those quotes quickly started circulating on social media and eventually made their way to Nance, who played alongside Sexton from 2018-2021. Nance clearly didn’t agree with the scout’s harsh assessment.
“Whoever said this is a moron with zero knowledge of anything going on in Cleveland,” Nance tweeted. “I’d hide behind anonymity too if I was this bad at my job.”
Whoever said this is a moron with zero knowledge of anything going on in Cleveland. I’d hide behind anonymity too if I was this bad at my job https://t.co/0QoeHnqrah
— Larry Nance Jr (@Larrydn22) October 15, 2021
Sexton has been a polarizing player since the Cavs selected him with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Early in his rookie season, Sexton reportedly left Cleveland’s veterans frustrated because they felt he didn’t “know how to play” and didn’t seem interested in working on his weaknesses. He has posted impressive numbers, but critics have questioned whether he actually contributes to winning. He was also the subject of trade rumors as recently as this past summer.
However, Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman told reporters during the team’s media day that the organization and Sexton want to reach an agreement on a contract extension in order to keep him in Cleveland.
“We’re certainly working with his representation to see that through, but this is someone that’s been with us since the start of this thing in terms of where we’ve been the last three years,” Altman said last month. “We love him. We want him here long-term. We’ll deal with that behind closed doors, but the feelings are mutual in terms of something long-term.”
The deadline for NBA teams to sign players to rookie-scale extensions is Monday at 6 p.m. ET.