Cavaliers, Celtics Swap Kyrie Irving And Isaiah Thomas
In shocking reports that shook up NBA Twitter, Boston and Cleveland completed a trade centered around Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas.
It has been nearly a month since Kyrie Irving has publicly been on the trade market after requesting a trade out of Cleveland. According to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, Irving’s wish has been granted.
Along with Thomas, the Cavaliers are getting Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first round pick (unprotected) in exchange for Irving.
Irving has waived his trade kicker in order to complete this deal.
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When Irving asked Cleveland for a trade, he handed over a preference sheet that included four teams: San Antonio, Minnesota, New York and Miami. Cleveland is in no way held to trading Irving to one of those teams, as they are out for themselves. They want the best possible deal, and that deal appears to be with Boston.
Boston clearly wasn’t on his list of preferred teams, making it somewhat of a risk to give up a large package in exchange for possibly just two years of Irving’s services.
However, Boston has a ton of assets that could help the team convince Irving to stay long-term after this trade. With win-now veterans Gordon Hayward and Al Horford under contract, along with young up-and-comers Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum — with more potential high-lottery picks over the next two years acquired via trade — Irving would be leaving a great situation in Boston if he decides to opt out in 2019 and sign elsewhere.
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This looks like a great deal for both sides on paper. The smart thing for Boston is to move on from Thomas as early as possible, as he is aging (will turn 29 in February) and could demand a long-term max contract next summer.
Even if it means giving up the great Crowder contract; a young, intriguing big man in Zizic and the coveted Nets pick, getting the younger, better point guard is a smart move for the future of the franchise. Irving, a 25-year-old with Finals experience, is great for Boston to have.
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For Cleveland, getting an All-Star point guard in return for Irving is a huge win. Even if he is going to cost a lot of money to retain or walks along with LeBron James next summer, he keeps their championship window open this season. (It may only be slightly, as Golden State will likely dominate the league once again.) Crowder gives head coach Ty Lue some lineup flexibility as well, and Zizic could give them a different look from what Tristan Thompson traditionally brings down low.
Cleveland managed to get the Nets pick in the deal as well, which is great to have in the cupboard should LeBron leave and the Cavs go into a rebuilding phase.
This deal looks like a win-win on paper and should make for a fascinating Eastern Conference Finals next spring.