The NBA off-season continued to heat up as the Cleveland Cavaliers, traded star point guard, Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers received Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a 2018 unprotected first round pick from the Brooklyn Nets. With the completion of this trade the Eastern Conference just got a lot more interesting.
This trade marks the first time in NBA history that the first pick and the last pick in a NBA draft, were traded for each other. Irving was the first pick in the 2011 draft and Thomas was the 60th pick.
Irving requested a trade last month, and his request was granted on Tuesday. Irving can make an immediate impact on the Celtics. Irving is now the unquestioned leader of the Celtics and their best player. Irving also has some very good teammates as well. The Celtics signed free-agent Gordon Hayward, and they also have Jayson Tatum. Irving, Hayward, and Tatum should be able to create a dynamic scoring punch, that the Celtics have not had since the days of Garnett, Allen, and Pierce.
Boston had to give up a lot to get Irving, but they are getting a guy who can put points on the board.
Irving averaged 25.2 points per game, averaged 5.2 assists per game, and grabbed 3.2 rebounds per game. The main weakness in Irving’s game is his unwillingness to play defense. However, Celtics coach, Brad Stevens should be able to get Kyrie to play better defense and become a better player.
The Cavaliers also improved as a team. Not only, were they able to get a dynamic scorer in Isaiah Thomas, they were also able to secure a young defensive stud in Jae Crowder. The Cavs basically got two big-time starters for Kyrie Irving.
Thomas is a dynamic scorer who can equal Irving’s output. Last season, Thomas averaged 28.9 points per game, averaged 5.7 assists per game, and grabbed 2.7 rebounds per game. Thomas is also in the final year of his contract, so he may be highly motivated to help lead the Cavaliers to another finals appearance.
The Cavaliers may have won this trade, because in this trade they received, the two key pieces they need to possibly challenge the Warriors. The other situation that may have forced the Cavs to make this trade is the possibility of Lebron James opting out of his contract and becoming a free agent.
The Cavs needed to get someone who can bring some star power and possibly replace James if he leaves Cleveland. That guy is not on this roster yet, but the Cavs may be able to get that player with the Nets pick in 2018. That Nets pick is guaranteed to be a top-3 pick. The Eastern conference is a lot more interesting now because of this trade. It should be an interesting opening night match-up in the 2017-2018 NBA season, between the Celtics and the Cavaliers.