CANTON, Ohio- How I feel about the trade of Kyrie Irving that finally happened.
I’m a little shocked for more than a few reasons. No, not because the trade actually happened, I knew that was going to happen.
I wasn’t expecting the trade to happen now. I had heard nothing for a while on the Kyrie trading front. Other than your usual rumor talk about possible teams and players being involved. I especially haven’t read or heard anything involving Boston, it’s mainly been all talk surround Cleveland and Phoenix. All I’ve been reading about, is that the trade likely wouldn’t happen until the regular season started. Then, I’m at work and all of the sudden I start seeing all these reports about the Cavaliers and Celtics in serious trade talks with the deal mainly involving Irving for Thomas. Still, I thought nothing of it. Not even five minutes later, here comes another report about the trade talks. This time, from a different source. At this point, Yes, I’m starting to think that these reports are actually serious and have truth behind them. Finally, someone who I follow, have met in person and yes, have talked to him in person multiple times, confirmed the report of the trade. That’s when I knew the trade really did happen.
I didn’t expect the Boston Celtics to be the team that Cleveland made a deal with. The first reason, is because of last season alone. Boston and Cleveland faced off in the Eastern finals. I knew that the Cavs were a much better team both on paper and on the court. I was actually shocked that Boston got a game in that series. Cleveland knew that if you take Thomas out of the equation and Avery Bradley wasn’t hitting, the Celtics wouldn’t stand a chance. Well, Bradley played better after Thomas left the series due to injury, but no one else stepped up. The fact of the matter, is that Boston is in the East, and they did add Gordon Hayward to their roster. However, Boston also traded Avery Bradley to Detroit. I didn’t think that was a smart move on Boston’s part.
I know Thomas is a good scorer and obviously so is Irving. To me, the only big noticeable difference is that Thomas is shorter. But what makes this so interesting to me, is how much better will Thomas get playing with James now? How will Kyrie play with Hayward? This is a big opportunity for Kyrie to prove to himself that he doesn’t need Lebron’s help to be that guy that is the main reason a team will win and win consistently. Sure, he’ll have help with Hayward and some other young talent, but Cleveland still has a better roster on paper and now it looks as if Boston wants to go from a gritty defensive team, to a team that wants to score more and is paying less attention to defense.
Cleveland gets Thomas, forward Jae Crowder who, I’m sure is glad he won’t be guarding James anymore, is a good wing defender and can also hit from 3-point range. Cleveland also received center Ante Zizic and a 2018 unprotected first round draft pick which, could possibly end up being the #1 overall pick in next years draft.
It was also reported that this deal will lower Cleveland’s luxury tax bill for next season from a projected $78.4 million to $59.2 million.
Overall, I’m happy this trade happened now before training camp. I feel that Cleveland got a good deal here. Thomas will be hungry to reach the NBA finals and Irving will have a team all for himself, for the most part, and be “The guy”. Cleveland also now created more options with that unprotected draft pick. The Cavs could keep it or use it as a trading piece. No need to rush things with that though.
As much as I’m happy that they made a trade, I will miss Irving and his dynamic way to play basketball. His ability to finish at the rim when I thought there’s no way he’ll make this shot. Then he makes it. I’ll always be thankful that he played a major part in helping Cleveland end a 52-year title drought. For over 30 years, all I’ve heard was that no Cleveland pro team will ever win a title. On June 19th of 2016, I watched that happen with my family. I still remember the feeling and I’m thankful that I was able to experience it with my family. I do thank you Kyrie Irving for hitting that 3-pointer. I know, if James doesn’t make that block and Love doesn’t make the defensive stop, then your shot might not have mattered, but it did. So, thank you for everything you did for the Cavs.
I will not miss your inability to want to play defense or get your teammates involved more often. Also, I feel you have some growing up to do when it comes to what’s more important to you? Winning or your brand? Those questions come to mind when you still have two-years left on your contract with a team you’ve been to the finals 3 straight seasons with, play next to the best player in the NBA, and most “experts” still have Cleveland reaching the NBA finals for a fourth straight season (unless James goes down or multiple players are lost for the year due to injury).
Here’s one final interesting note for you. Irving is traded and he still opens the regular season in Cleveland as the Cavs host Boston. I’m curious what type of reaction he will get and if the Cavs will do anything for him from a thank you standpoint. Maybe show some highlights of his amazing shots and obviously his 3-pointer to help Cleveland win its first title in over 50 years. I don’t know, I’m just curious.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick broulis