When Kyrie Irving’s trade request came out to the public, most were in agreement that the Cleveland Cavaliers would not receive anything close to equal trade value. The most common rumours out there were that he would be traded to the Phoenix Suns for Eric Bledsoe and some combination of prospects. But then Tuesday evening, the Boston Celtics came in and shocked everyone.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and The Boston Celtics made a trade Tuesday night which sent Kyrie Irving to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, as well as Brooklyn’s 2018 first round pick.
It is very hard to say who wins a trade of this magnitude just a day after it happens, since there are many aspects that still need to play out. For example, how high the Brooklyn pick will be and how Thomas’ hip will be after the rehabilitation. Just looking at what the Cavaliers received, it seems pretty obvious at this time that they came out like gangbusters from this trade, but it will be necessary to review this trade again at the end of the upcoming season.
The reason that the Cavaliers are the winners as of right now is that they managed to trade someone who was looking to get traded and still recoup at least equal, if not better, value. Isaiah Thomas had a breakout season last year as he had 28.9 points per game and 5.9 assists per game. He was the engine that led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals to lose to the aforementioned Cavaliers. The one concern with him is that he decided not to have surgery on his injured hip, but went through extensive rehab throughout the summer. He is also going into the final year of his contract and has already voiced his belief that he is deserving of a max contract. The Cavaliers are not in the best position in terms of money, and Lebron James will also be a free agent in the same summer as Thomas.
Jae Crowder is an interesting piece of this trade since many people are very high on his abilities. He was 20th in the league in RPM (Real Plus-Minus) last season and has shown that he can be one of the better defenders in the league. Ante Zizic has never played in the NBA and was not very impressive in the Las Vegas summer league, therefore he probably will not get very many minutes, if any at all, for the Cavaliers.
The Brooklyn first round pick may be the most interesting piece in this trade. It is most likely going to be a top 5 selection in the draft and players such as Michael Porter, DeAndre Ayton, and Luka Doncic will be available in that range. Any one of those picks could turn out to be a star in the NBA and that is what the Cavaliers will need since it is looking more and more likely that they will have to enter a rebuild after the 2017-18 season.
Now taking a look at the Celtics, they received a very skilled point guard in Irving, but they had to give up a lot to get him. He is very similar to Thomas in what his skills are. They are both shoot first ball handlers, who are below average on defence. This move makes it quite obvious that they believe that they could win an NBA title next season and it also gives them more long-term assurance. If Irving can take the next step after getting out from James’ shadow then this trade may be a good one for the Celtics, but as of right now it is looking very good for the Cavaliers.
It seems that this trade is very fitting for the end of one of the craziest off-seasons in recent memory, since it shows that just about anyone can be traded, even to a rival. It will not take long for these players to face their old teams, as they will be playing each other opening night in Cleveland on October 17th. Until then, we will have to just speculate how these players will fit in on their new teams.