Larry Nance Jr. looked out at the crowd gathered in the gym and knew he made the right choice.
He’s staying home.
“I’m one of you guys,” he said. “I really am. I’m a Cleveland guy at heart.”
Nance signed a $44.8 million, four-year contract extension on Monday with the Cavaliers, the team his father starred for and the one he hopes to help rebuild without LeBron James.
The sides had until 6 p.m. on Monday to work out terms for the deal or Nance would have become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Once the agreement was secured, Nance signed his contract in front of Cavaliers employees on the indoor practice court in Quicken Loans Arena.
After being introduced by general manager Koby Altman, Nance addressed his basketball family.
“I haven’t come up with the word for it yet,” said Nance, wearing a T-shirt with “HOME” on the front. “Surreal doesn’t even cut it. I grew up here. I grew up in this building watching my dad play. To re-up here for four more years and get to wear the (number) 22 in the city of Cleveland, I can’t put it into words. There’s no place I would rather be.”
The 25-year-old Nance joined the Cavs midway through last season after he was acquired in a trade — along with guard Jordan Clarkson — from the Los Angeles Lakers.
He helped Cleveland reach its fourth straight NBA Finals and the Cavs view him as one of their core players as they try to stay competitive while James starts anew out West with the Lakers.
For Nance, an Akron native like James, Cleveland is the only place he ever wanted to be.
“I was the only person to live in L.A. and vacation in Cleveland,” he said. “Now I can vacation where I live.”
Nance averaged 8.9 points and 7.0 rebounds in 24 games last season.
He’s expected to share starting duties this season with Tristan Thompson as coach Tyronn Lue plans to match up with the other team’s big men.
Nance’s dad, Larry Sr., was an All-Star with the Cavs from 1987-94 and the first winner of the All-Star dunk contest in 1984. His jersey was retired by Cleveland in 1995, but the team chose to let the younger Nance wear it when he came over last season.
Bucks acquire Meeks
The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired suspended guard Jodie Meeks, a future second-round draft pick and cash from the Wizards, sending a future second-round pick back to Washington.
The NBA suspended Meeks in April for 25 games for a violation of the league’s drug program. He has 19 games left on the suspension.
It’s possible that Meeks, a former Piston, will be waived by the Bucks, who are loaded in the backcourt. Milwaukee signed Pat Connaughton as a free agent in the offseason and drafted Donte DiVincenzo in the first round to go with returnees including Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon.
The 31-year-old Meeks averaged 6.3 points in 77 games for Washington last season. The nine-year veteran was selected by Milwaukee in the second round of the 2009 draft before being traded that season to Philadelphia.
Kristaps Porzingis will hit free agency.
The Knicks gambled with their future and did not sign their star Latvian to the five-year, $158 million contract extension by Monday’s deadline, adding pressure on the front office to sign another star in the summer.
... The Pacers have signed 22-year-old Myles Turner to a contract extension. Team officials made the announcement Monday but declined to provide details of the deal. It is a four-year deal worth $72 million, espn.com reported.
The signing means Indiana will have two key players — Turner and All-Star guard Victor Oladipo — under contract for the next three seasons.
... The Clippers acquired center Alexis Ajinca from New Orleans in exchange for forward Wesley Johnson. The Clippers subsequently waived Ajinca on Monday.
In another move, the Clippers waived Jawun Evans, who was one of a glut of guards on the roster.
... Three-time Sixth Man Award winner Jamal Crawford has reportedly reached agreement with the Phoenix Suns on a one-year, $2.4 million deal.
... The Nets have exercised the 2019-20 contract options for center Jarrett Allen and guard Caris LeVert (Michigan).
... The Hawks have exercised their 2019-20 contract options on DeAndre’ Bembry, Taurean Prince and John Collins.