By Ellis Henderson II
There has been a ground-shaking trade in the eastern conference of the NBA. On August 30th, the Cleveland Cavaliers traded four-time all-star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, along with a 2020 second round draft pick, and a 2018 unprotected pick. The trade was originally proposed on August 23rd and originally excluded the 2020 second round pick, but that was was added later, after the Cavaliers’ medical staff reviewed the extent of Thomas’ pre-existing hip injury.
The idea of trading Irving was conceived in July, when Irving requested to be traded. He “expressed that he wants to go play in a situation where he can be a more focal point.” Some reports say that one of the main reasons he wanted to leave was because he no longer wanted to play alongside LeBron James. Many people believe that the Cavaliers came out on top with this trade because of how they approached the trade market. They entered with no leverage because all of the teams in the league knew that Kyrie wanted to leave Cleveland as soon as possible, since he wanted to be the front man for a team. But somehow the Cavaliers’ brand-new general manager, Koby Altman, and the Cavaliers’ front office orchestrated a deal to replace Irving with an all-NBA point guard, a top-of-the-line 3-and-D guy, a young big man with potential, “a second round pick,” and an unprotected 2018 first-round pick that could be a possible number one draft pick, depending on how the Nets do this upcoming season.
While this trade is very impressive for how the Cavaliers managed to get so many assets for only Irving, how will this pay off in the future? Now that they have a replacement for Irving, what will they do with the remaining roster? Who will be the starting point guard and shooting guard? Point guard Derrick Rose was signed in July while Irving moved out to the shooting guard position, but that is obviously not the case now. Thomas is also well-qualified to point guard, but his size may play a role in the decision.
Thomas stands at a whopping 5’9″ and is the shortest active NBA player. However, he has shown that size does not matter. He averaged 28.9 ppg (points per game) this past season, while Irving averaged 25.2 ppg during the 2016-17 season. Although both of the most qualified guards on the Cavaliers’ roster have a history of injury, Rose with his knees and Thomas with his hip, the question that continues to reappear is when Thomas will be cleared to play. Will Thomas or Rose be in the guard position this season? With this trade, it seems that the Celtics are more prepared for the future than they were before. Their promising team, even before Irving, featured former Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward, 2017 number three draft pick Jayson Tatum, 2016 number three draft pick Jaylen Brown, and center Al Horford. Other questions are whether the improved rosters for both the Celtics and the Cavs can take them to the NBA Finals, or help them take down the Golden State Warriors.
In asking a few of Collegiate’s NBA fans about the trade, there were mixed reactions. One NBA fan said that while she “doesn’t really watch basketball,” she does have a pretty good understanding of the tensions from both sides of the trade. “That’s a lot of people for just one person.” “Unfair” was the word she used to describe the trade, because “you’re trading five or six players for just the one.” Adam Samee (19’) believes that “the Cavs won the trade… because they get a similar player in… Thomas, they get a good defender in Jae Crowder,” who he says can “help them against Golden State.” He also mentioned that the draft picks could help in rebuilding, “if Lebron leaves.” While he believes that the Cavaliers won the trade because of the assets they received, Samee does think that it would have been smart if the Celtics had gotten more in exchange for Irving. But he was happy the Cavaliers got what they did because he “want[s] the Cavaliers to beat the Golden State Warriors” this upcoming season.
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