Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas in blockbuster trade

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    The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics have agreed on the trade of the NBA off-season, with Kyrie Irving to land in Boston ahead of the 2017-18 season in a swap with Isaiah Thomas.

    Thomas headlines the deal, with the point guard set to play alongside LeBron James for the reigning Eastern Conference champions.

    Along with Thomas, Cleveland gain plenty, receiving Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn’s 2018 first round pick, which Boston already had out of a previous trade deal.

    Given the struggles of the Nets, that’s likely to be an early to mid first rounder, giving the Cavaliers a spot high in the draft or extra room to move for the rest of the trade window.

    The move follows a number of rumours surrounding Kyrie Irving, who has reportedly wanted out of the Cavaliers since the end of July when he requested a trade. That followed Irving and LeBron’s Cavaliers going down to the Golden State Warriors 4-1 in the NBA Finals, failing to defend their championship from the 2015-16 season.

    Irving will now have the chance to take over a team in Boston, something he hasn’t been able to do behind LeBron and alongside Kevin Love in Cleveland, while Thomas will move into a side who have played in each of the last three finals.

    Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said it’s been brilliant having Thomas and Crowder in Boston.

    “Isaiah and Jae have been a huge part of our success,” he said. “Isaiah’s playoff performance under very difficult circumstances will live on in history, and we wish them all the best.” Grousbeck said.

    Boston’s President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge also sung the praises of Irving.

    “Kyrie is one of the best scorers in the NBA. He has proven that on the biggest stage, the NBA Finals, the last three years,” Ainge said.

    “He’s been an NBA Champion, an Olympic Gold Medalist, and a four-time All-Star. For all he’s accomplished, we think his best years are ahead of him.”

    In another intriguing twist, the Cavaliers and Celtics will face off on opening night of the NBA season at the Quicken Loans Arena. It was sure to already be a big match between the two sides expected to finish at the top of the Eastern Conference, but this move is sure to add plenty to the rivalry.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (36)

    • Roar Pro

      August 23rd 2017 @ 1:11pm
      Ben Sewell said | August 23rd 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

      Worst trade this Summer, bar none. Danny Ainge what have you done.

      • August 23rd 2017 @ 2:31pm
        Joel Embiid said | August 23rd 2017 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

        How you can term this as worse than the Butler or George deals is beyond comprehension.

        • Roar Pro

          August 23rd 2017 @ 7:58pm
          Ben Sewell said | August 23rd 2017 @ 7:58pm | ! Report

          They sold so low on the Nets pick. IT and Crowder should have been enough.

          • August 23rd 2017 @ 9:17pm
            Swampy said | August 23rd 2017 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

            If the Celtics kept the pick would the Cavs do the trade? Boston were in a situation where they held too many assets and IT would want a Max deal in 2018. Ainge had to do something and every other team low-balled him by all accounts. Kyrie is on a good contract and only 25. The Celtics would have ended up giving away good players because they literally couldn’t fit them on the roster. May as well get a Kyrie Irving instead.

            Celtics now have a super good young core going forward and still have 6 first round picks over the next couple of drafts.

            If IT’s hip is worse than thought the trade would be abysmal for the Cavs. It would be Crowder for Kyrie Irving straight swap – the draft pick is insurance. From all accounts Thomas won’t play till December which is a worry.

            • August 23rd 2017 @ 11:34pm
              Mushi said | August 23rd 2017 @ 11:34pm | ! Report

              How is kyrie on a good contract? His salary was more than the Celtic sent over!

              Also time was on ainge’s side.

              • August 24th 2017 @ 7:55am
                Swampy said | August 24th 2017 @ 7:55am | ! Report

                Because the Celtics get him minimum for 2 more years (with option for 3rd) and comparative to similar players he will be relatively cheap in 2018-2019 when guys like Isaiah Thomas will be earning more.

      • August 23rd 2017 @ 5:19pm
        RBBAnonymous said | August 23rd 2017 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

        I have to agree. I am not sure how the Cleveland Cavs wriggled there way out of this situation, but to me at least, they look a much stronger team after this deal. Is it enough to keep LeBron in Cleveland, only time will tell.

    • August 23rd 2017 @ 1:43pm
      Andrew said | August 23rd 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

      As a Celtics fan I don’t know how I feel about this.

      IT was a gem last year. Carried this storied franchise on his tiny sub 6ft shoulders. But he is 29, coming off contract at the end of the season and would be looking for a max deal.
      Crowder was great value on the cap and from all reports popular among the team mates.

      Irving is obviously an all-star and has a point to prove, but he would want to hit the ground running, because he has run his mouth about wanting to be the man, and he is replacing a fan favourite. Boston fans will expect a championship and nothing short of that now.

      The problem with that; we all know LeBron is a petty, sensitive guy and there is no way he lets Kyrie beat him in seven games if they meet in the playoffs

    • August 23rd 2017 @ 1:49pm
      Roger said | August 23rd 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

      Staggering trade. Honestly didn’t believe it as first.

      I have no idea how the Cavs have managed to get the Nets 2018 pick off the Celtics without giving anything but Irving.

      In fact, I have no idea how they got it full stop.

      Cavs were after a player,veteran and a pick combo. Walked away All-star point guard, best contract in the NBA and potentially no 1 pick with last years first rounder Zizic thrown in. Outstanding deal all things considered.

    • August 23rd 2017 @ 1:54pm
      Jerry said | August 23rd 2017 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

      This sets up Boston to dominate the East in a couple of years when LeBron leaves the Cavs, IMO. Thomas was great last season but he’s 29 and they’d have had to pay him a max contract. With Hayward, Tatum & Irving they’ve got a real chance to build something.

      Good for the Cavs in the short term too and that pick may help the rebuild in a few years time when they don’t have James (and maybe Thomas) around.

      • August 23rd 2017 @ 3:20pm
        The Fatman said | August 23rd 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

        Terrible for Boston.

        The problem is that there were no other suitors for Kyrie and Boston could have waited till the trade deadline.

        Irving is only slightly a better player than Thomas and yet Ange sold the farm to make the trade.

        The Nets pick could be 1-3 in next years draft which is star-studded.

        Why Danny Ange? Why?

        you just made a big mistake.

        • August 23rd 2017 @ 7:40pm
          Swampy said | August 23rd 2017 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

          No other suitors for Kyrie? You are kidding aren’t you??

          Nets pick might be 4 or 5. Bulls, Hawks, Knicks, Pacers all could be worse and will boost nets win column which will put the worst team in West (NO, Kings, Mavs, Grizz or Clips) in range.

          Ainge rolling the dice had to be done – there just weren’t enough minutes available for all their players and future players.

    • Columnist

      August 23rd 2017 @ 1:58pm
      Ryan O'Connell said | August 23rd 2017 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

      Wow, Kyrie doesn’t seem to have a lot of fans here, judging by the comments.

      • August 23rd 2017 @ 2:16pm
        Mushi said | August 23rd 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

        Define fan Ryan. If your a fan of Irvings game (ball dominant horrible D) then you’d have to likewise be a fan of IT who is an amplified version on both ends.

        Which means for four years in age you get Crowder (top 20 real plus minus) a Nets draft pick, huge tax savings and a young big.

        • Columnist

          August 23rd 2017 @ 3:14pm
          Ryan O'Connell said | August 23rd 2017 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

          I just thought he was very popular, that’s all. I wasn’t projecting my opinion on him, necessarily.

          I can’t get a handle on Kyrie, to be honest. I’ve seen him many games with his amazing ability to put the ball in the hoop. But, conversely, he can cost him teams games with pours defense, and a bad attitude.

          • August 24th 2017 @ 12:15am
            Mushi said | August 24th 2017 @ 12:15am | ! Report

            He’s a lesser point guard version of Melo.

            • Columnist

              August 24th 2017 @ 6:36am
              Ryan O'Connell said | August 24th 2017 @ 6:36am | ! Report

              Maybe. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In his prime, you surround Melo with the right people, and he could have been the best player on an NBA championship team.

              Even if you consider Kyrie a glorified role player, that ‘role’ is an important one. And there is no doubt he’s a clutch player. Some stats don’t show that.

              He’s got at effective fg% of 54% in the last minute of games (plus OT). That beats everyone in the league at the moment, by a fair way. So it’s no cliche to say he can win you games. It’s just whether that offsets what damage he does to you. He certainly didn’t win many games until LeBron came back. And Boston lost their two best defenders this off-season. It’s intriguing to see how Boston will do.

              Of course, I hope it’s a failure!

      • August 23rd 2017 @ 2:21pm
        Mushi said | August 23rd 2017 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

        There’s a decent argument that Crowder is perhaps the best player in the trade if you have a high usage scorer (that LeBron guy goes ok).

        Crowder is also going to have a massive chip as he was apparently livid with the Hayward courtship.

        • August 23rd 2017 @ 3:38pm
          Swampy said | August 23rd 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          You know I’m a kyrie fan boy mushi, but I think this deal is pretty good for both sides.

          IT is really a slightly worse version of kyrie (in every aspect other than heart) & should replace him for the most part in those situations LeBron needed Kyrie, eg to score in the 4th or when LeBron was on the bench. He could comes with big downsides though and maybe his hip injury is degenerative. Cavs got a massive upgrade on D support at the LeBron resting spot (someone else to guard Durant) & the No. 1 pick is a steal and protects the Cavs future somewhat. Zizic might be OK too.

          Starting line up of Thomas (once healthy), Smith, LeBron, Love and Thompson is very strong still. And the bench is instantly better (& younger). It’s fair to say they have only improved on D through the bench – Thomas may find himself on the bench in the 4th at times.

          The Celtics on the converse have, in my opinion, balanced their roster better by subtraction and gained a big upgrade at PG. Thomas, for all the good things he did was the biggest weak spot in the play-offs on D. Irving is a slightly better shooter and can play a bit of D when bothered or challenged. IT just couldn’t grow another 6 inches no matter what. Crowder and Zizic created a logjam for minutes and freeing up more minutes for who is left was necessary – especially for Brown and Tatum. I just couldn’t see how the Celtics were ever going to fit in next year’s number 1 pick without purging players. At least they got a 4-time all-star in return. Plus they may know a lot more about Thomas’s hip injury than we do. And he was due a Max contract after this season.

          The Celtics have finally made their bed. They have finally used the collected assets to go for it.

          • August 23rd 2017 @ 3:57pm
            steve said | August 23rd 2017 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

            How have the Celtics balanced their roster when they have lost their two best defenders in Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder? And purely from a stats perspective, they have given away their all star PG for another all star PG who is rated defensively worse that IT. The Celtics have improved on offense maybe, but they are defensively worse without a doubt.

            • August 23rd 2017 @ 4:31pm
              Swampy said | August 23rd 2017 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

              They were too crowded at fwd. Added Tatum and Hayward. Hayward is a very good defender and Jaylen Brown is an excellent on ball defender and needs more minutes. Bradley and Crowder were in the way of these guy’s getting minutes. They’ve added Baynes as well.

          • August 23rd 2017 @ 7:40pm
            Mushi said | August 23rd 2017 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

            I don’t think he’s an upgrade in every way, Thomas does a much better job of creating efficient shots for his team mates. I think he will be a much better second unit creator (Irving was a train wreck in that role) but he is one of the few guys worse at defending but at least it won’t be an effort thing.

            On court impact I think it’s an evenish swap but given age the Celtic win if it were one for one.

            Crowder is a plus minus king ironically because he actually does the non highlight reel crap that you need with a guy like Irving. So not sure about the balance but Crowder was P. O.’d massively so they had to. Just Crowder and Thomas I’d take the cavs side every time.

            A high first rounder is potentially the best piece in the trade. Now it’s a landslide.

            Then you throw in tax relief and a euro prospect for some cherry on top.

            I think the Celtics went too early here with the God father offer.

            • August 23rd 2017 @ 9:24pm
              Swampy said | August 23rd 2017 @ 9:24pm | ! Report

              Matty Delavedova is a better +/- than Kyrie – surely you couldn’t argue the Cavs gave up the wrong guy? You could – I know you will.

              • August 24th 2017 @ 12:12am
                Mushi said | August 24th 2017 @ 12:12am | ! Report

                How is delly better in +/-?

                I’d have thought even a you knew the minus is bad.

                So to clear it up it isn’t golf. Delly having negative raw, real, adjusted and bpm is bad. Hmm okay.

                Plus= out scoring which is good
                Negative=getting outscored which is bad

                Kyrie was better last year than delly in every +/- I can find and better during delly’s career as a whole.

                I have said time and again, and I know you know this because you respond with insipid counters, I view kyrie as an average to above average starting PG. I have never said delly is an average level starting PG

                Also I have said multiple times that one number alone is not indicative (real +/- under values shot creators imo hence I said the fit required earlier) but, given you think that the minus is good, I suppose that was never going to get through.

                Also it does get balanced with the eye test it’s just you don’t see a petulant Kyrie that won’t play D.

                Even if you say there were years delly has out performed in real +/- you can point to injury and a big underperformance in bpm and most other advanced stats v Irving that would say he’s not better.

              • August 24th 2017 @ 8:03am
                Swampy said | August 24th 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

                In Delly’s championship year before he left for Milwaukee he finished higher than Kyrie in straight +/-.

                You merely bit on the bait by ranting numbers as per the norm and in the process creating an argument that Kyrie is pretty good incidentally.

                It will be interesting to see how all the stats you use to play down Kyrie’s game end up under a good coach like Stevens.

                Makes for a good season ahead. May our discussion continue during it.

    • August 23rd 2017 @ 2:19pm
      Gormon Kinchley said | August 23rd 2017 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

      Boston moved the flat earth to get kyrie. It seems a terrible deal for them.

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