After a whole month and a half of rumors, the Cavaliers finally shipped out all-star point guard Kyrie Irving. However, the team that traded for Irving’ further fuels the competition in the Eastern Conference.
He finally did it. Danny Ainge came through with his promise of fireworks.
Cleveland and Boston have agreement on deal to send Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas package to Cavs, sources tell The Vertical
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 22, 2017
A new leaf has been added to the clover and his name is Kyrie Irving. Already a proven championship player at the age of 25, the superstar is now set to call the T.D. Garden home for the 2017-18 season, but the biggest question for Irving is “will he blossom or wither on the vine?”
The Celtics have been the busiest team in the offseason thus far. Adding Gordon Hayward through free agency and trading away Avery Bradley were among the many moves they made, but with the acquisition of Irving, it seems like they are set for the season to begin. However, with Irving’s arrival in Boston, will he be the final piece complete the Celtics’ need in order to have enough to dethrone the Cavaliers and the Warriors for the NBA title? Let’s weed out this mess.
According to multiple sources, the Cleveland Cavaliers sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for a package including Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first round pick (via Brooklyn). Irving originally requested a trade from the Cavaliers back in July and all the talk has been centered around where will Kyrie land. The New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns were among the teams that flirted with acquiring Irving, but it turned out Gilbert sent him to the one team literally no one expected: the team with the best record in the Eastern conference last season.
For the Celtics, acquiring Irving adds another star to the mix. However, Irving has been one of the hottest names since he entered the league back in 2011 and is bigger than any name Boston has on its roster. The Celtics have been starved for a superstar since the days of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, and adding Irving gives them their star player.
The package for Irving that Cleveland received was a solid return. Giving up an all-star in Isaiah Thomas is understandable since both Irving and Thomas play the same position. Jae Crowder had to go since the team signed Gordon Hayward in free agency and the team needed to match up salary. Ante Zizic is still an unknown at this point, but flashed potential in the Summer League. However, the first round pick from the Nets is the only wildcard. Based on the Nets’ standing in previous seasons, it should be expected to fall in the lottery, which should help Cleveland, who has been in desperate need of youth.
Thomas injured his hip in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavaliers and did not play for the rest of the series. It was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Celtics were “very concerned” about the hip and that alone made this trade a bit easier. For a player like Thomas, a hip injury can be very severe. Thomas shoots the three-pointer well, but his primary offensive game consists of slashing and getting to the basket. A bad hip can potentially affect a player’s fluid movement, and with Thomas already at a height disadvantage, lift could become an issue moving forward.
Crowder is an overrated player. His defense is slightly above average, and his offensive game is very hit or miss. In the playoffs, he was an absolute no show. The Cavaliers did need a 3-and-D player like Crowder, and no one on the roster outside of Iman Shumpert plays defense.
Since Zizic is only a rookie, there’s a lot of question marks about his game without much to say at the moment other than the fact he had a good summer league. What he can do in the league against actual NBA talent remains to be seen. The 2018 Nets pick could potentially be a top 3 pick and that could help jumpstart this Cleveland rebuild after if LeBron James decides to bolt for a new team next offseason.
The best thing about the trade from the Celtics point is that they did not give up Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum. It was reported that the Cavaliers wanted Tatum in a trade, as he showed he can play in the Summer League (granted it’s not all NBA talent). Jaylen Brown showed flashes this past year and could be a cornerstone for the franchise in years to come. The fact that these two weren’t involved in the trade was a borderline miracle.
Now, what does this mean for the future of the Celtics? Irving’s contract has a player option in the 2019-2020 season. Will he re-up with the Celtics? That remains to be seen. Thomas’s contract is up at the end of this season and he has inferred that the team “back up the Brinks truck” and pay him the max. The Cavaliers might now be stuck paying that contract to a player who will be 29 next season, which is not the most ideal situation for a team that could potentially be in the rebuilding phase at the snap of a finger. Boston will have their core players signed until the 2019-2020 season, meaning they can potentially compete for a championship.
This is a really solid deal for both teams. Danny Ainge waited all this time to pull off a deal for a superstar and he got one. Irving is a top three point guard and top ten player in the league. It’s looking like the four leaf clover is back and with a vengeance.
Featured photo credit: Ron Schwane/AP