After a wild offseason, a blockbuster trade took place last night when Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets 2018 first round pick.
Who would’ve thought the 1st pick in the 2011 NBA Draft would be traded for the last pick in that same draft?
So, who won in the deal?
Well, the Cavs won the trade- for this season. They were able to fulfill Irving’s request for a trade and got a guy who averaged 30 points a game last season in Thomas, as well as a solid starting caliber player in Crowder.
To combine those two with LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Derrick Rose, they should see themselves in another NBA Finals.
However, they don’t yet have the pieces to beat Golden State due to IT4’s poor defense and Tristan Thompson’s lack of offensive skills. So, what happens at the end of this season when James and IT4 are free agents?
The best scenario for Cleveland is for Thomas and James to re-sign, as well as signing a marquee free agent such as Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Carmelo Anthony or someone of that caliber to pair with them.
Of course, James and IT4 would need to take pay cuts in order for the team to have the cap space. Knowing that they’re on the clock, they would most likely trade the Nets pick for a star as well, maybe packaged with Kevin Love.
On the flip side, James could very well leave next season and join Lonzo Ball, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., and Julius Randle in Los Angeles, and maybe even Paul George or Russell Westbrook.
I’d be surprised to see James in a Cavaliers uniform at the start of next season. If James left Cleveland, IT4 would most likely leave as well.
So what did the Celtics gain?
Well, they acquired a superstar in Kyrie Irving. They made the rotation tighter by getting rid of Crowder, allowing Jayson Tatum to get more touches, as well as allowing Jaylen Brown to develop as a firm rotation player behind Tatum and Gordon Hayward.
With Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and Gerald Green rounding out the rotation, the Celtics see themselves a piece away from being able to capture a title in the next 2 to 4 years.
Yes, the Celtics lost the Nets 2018 pick, however IT4 was most likely going to leave Boston, and Crowder made the rotation too crowded (no pun intended) for Brown and Tatum to be able to thrive.
I believe the Celtics won the deal long term, because James and Thomas will likely leave Cleveland after losing to Golden State in the NBA Finals, which will leave them with a top pick and Love as their franchise cornerstones.
I get the sense that Irving will enjoy playing for the Celtics because he is the best player on the team, and has a great number 2 option in Gordon Hayward, as well as guys like Horford and Morris who do not need to dominate the ball to be effective.
While they are still a piece away, they can address it next summer due to the plethora of star free agents on the market such as Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins and others.
Not to mention, Kyrie Irving is only 25 years old, and it gives Boston a sense of direction for the future.
Who do you think won the trade?
About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and Miami Hurricanes football and basketball. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).