SO much for my Kyrie to Phoenix piece. 24 hours is a long time in the NBA though. We can go from a quiet brainstorm to facilitate a trade request to Twitter going into meltdown as basketball fans across the globe try to process what the f*ck just happened. Kyrie Irving is a Celtic and Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets 2018 1st rounder will be heading to Cleveland.
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AFTER crapping on the Cavs front office ever since the trade request surfaced from Irving, I’m kind of impressed. Full disclosure I’m a diehard Cavs fan and I LOVED Kyrie and anyone in their right mind wouldn’t want to lose a player of his calibre. However, the return they got not only helps them remain a title contender, but it sets them up for success in the future as well.
IT’S no secret that LeBron James staying in a Cavs uniform is no certainty which was no doubt a factor in Irving requesting a trade away from the franchise. For that reason anytime someone tried to engage in talks with Cleveland a young stud was a must for the future of the Ohio based franchise. I don’t think Ante Zizic, a 7-foot Croatian, is likely to that franchise changing youth, but getting a potential top five (or better) pick via the Nets could help deliver the Cavs that player. The acquisition of Isaiah Thomas is an added bonus as well, with the potential of offering him an extension or letting him walk if they decide at the conclusion of the season that they want to go in another direction. Jae Crowder, the final piece in the deal might seem like a throwaway, but his contract value ($21.9mil over the next three years) and elite defensive prowess instantly gives them a solution to their Achilles heel. I have harped on about how they need a defensive stopper to battle the star-studded Warriors and should they get past the Celtics for a fourth instalment of GSW/Cleveland they are better prepared to shutdown the likes of Curry, Thompson and Durant.
Image from cavsnation.com
OF course, Irving landing in Boston is the biggest story of them all. The Celtics now have a bonafide star to complement their well-constructed roster and shoot them into title contention in the blink of an eye. A core of Horford/Tatum/Thoms/Hayward is great, but subbing Irving for Thomas makes this team scary. The reigning No. 1 seed helped to distance themselves from the rest of the miserable East and in turn, they may have made their biggest threats weaker.
THE idea of the reigning top two seeds in the same conference making a trade is perplexing, to say the least. I will dissect the trade in more depth and detail over the coming days, but this mega trade single handedly changes the landscape of the entire Eastern Conference and the entire league. Oh and if you didn’t know the Celtics visit the Cavs to open the NBA season. What a time to be alive.
Banner from bostonherald.com