BLOCKBUSTER ALERT! The Cleveland Cavaliers have officially traded All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Nets’ 2018 first-round draft selection.
Kyrie being traded comes as no surprise as he asked the Cavs front office to be traded back in June prior to the draft. The fact that the Celtics were willing to let go of their All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas who recently had the best year of his career and led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals was also no surprise. Ever since he injured his hip, the Celtics have been weary of moving forward with him on the roster as they involved him in multiple trade talks this summer. The only real surprise here is that the Cavs managed to grab what could be a top 3 draft selection in next year’s draft. This is huge for the team especially as they are gearing up for a potential future without Lebron James after this season. The Cavs are currently trying to figure out a way to retain Lebron past this upcoming season and this trade (especially the pick that’s involved) may encourage Lebron to stay and help the team remain contenders even after his playing days are over by taking next year’s rookie under his wing and schooling him on what it takes to be and stay great in the NBA. If it wasn’t for Lebron, the Kyrie trade would have happened a long time ago but the Cavs have to ensure their future stays as bright as the present day either with or without Lebron therefore they have to get the best trade possible for Irving. They’ve turned down enticing offers from Miami and Phoenix along with offers from the Clippers, Timberwolves, Spurs, etc. After the Cavs turned down the trade offer from Phoenix, some thought they wouldn’t receive an offer as good from another team. That turned out to be untrue after this deal between the two top teams in the Eastern Conference.
This trade was greatly needed by the Cavs given their stagnant offseason that was on its way to develop into a disappointing season. As for the Celtics, they have been the most active this offseason having acquired Jason Tatum with the #3 pick in this year’s draft and Gordon Hayward through free-agency. For the Celtics to trade Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder shows they are not willing to gamble on Thomas after his hip injury but they are willing to bet on Jalen Brown’s defense to reach a higher level and for him to step into Crowder’s role as the team’s primary wing defender. Brown showed enough promise of being a good player and great defender throughout his rookie season to earn him valuable playing time during the playoffs, even during crunch time. The Celtics will need Brown to play exceptionally well on the defensive end during his 2nd season as it will be a factor for the Celtics and their success this upcoming season since they have moved on from a couple of their best defenders in Crowder as well as Avery Bradley. On the other hand, offense will be no issue for the C’s with the additions of Hayward, Tatum, and now Irving.
Adding Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder into the mix will be great help keeping moment within games for the Cavs whenever Tyronn Lue decides to rest Lebron for a few minutes. Isaiah Thomas averaged just about 29ppg while shooting 46% from the field (37% behind 3). Now add Lebron as his teammate and while his average in points may drop a couple of points, his percentage should increase as Lebron will make the game easier for him. An advantage to having IT on your team compared to Kyrie is that IT moves better off the ball meanwhile Kyrie is more of an iso player that tends to stop the flow of the offense. With IT starting and Derrick Rose coming off the bench for the Cavs, there will be a constant flow of offense at the point guard position. Jae Crowder will help the Cavs get stops on the defensive end while helping Lebron spend less energy worrying about guarding the other team’s best wing player throughout the entire game. The chances of the Cavs getting through the Eastern Conference and actually competing with the Warriors in the NBA Finals relies on Lebron’s energy level. It was more than obvious, that despite the numbers he put up in last year’s Finals, LBJ was gassed by the 4th quarter of Game 3 trying to get the Cavs a win and keep them in the series. Ultimately, the series was quick. Particularly due to the Cavs lack of depth in which they improved on during this offseason.
The Celtics and Cavs face off in the season’s opener in Cleveland on October 17th at 7pm Central Time. Kyrie will make his Celtics debut sporting #11 (#2 is retired for Red Auerbach).
The Cavs are currently evaluating the results from Isaiah Thomas’ physical pending the completion of this trade. Depending on what they found out about Thomas’ injured hip will determine if they decide to accept the trade as it is or inquire that the Celtics sweeten the deal by adding another draft pick. If Boston declines to make any additions to the deal, the trade may be voided resulting in an awkward situation where the Cavs are back with Irving on the roster and the Celtics have to deal with the karma served to them for their lack of loyalty towards Thomas.