Not one person on the planet saw this trade going down in a million years, and if someone says they saw it coming, then they are a compulsive liar. The Cavaliers shockingly (and not so shockingly at the same time) traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crawford, center Ante Zizic, and a Brooklyn 2018 unprotected first-round pick.
One of the reasons people didn’t see this trade going down is because they were so fixated on what was going to happen to LeBron James and how he would be traded first since he would bring in more value. Plus, if you think about it, LeBron at age 32 might have 4-5 elite seasons left in him. Irving, on the other hand, is at the peak of his career at the age of 25.
It’s pretty clear the Cavs won this deal. They got rid of a guy who would bring down the locker room if he stayed in Cleveland with LeBron for another season, and then replaced him with a point guard who also scored 25 ppg in 2016-17 and added some depth to the bench.
In other words, this is highway robbery. Celtic GM Danny Angie doesn’t seem to mind the high price he paid for acquiring the All-Star PG.
“It is a high price tag,” Angie said. “But acquiring a 25-year-old perennial All-Star, a player that fits a timeline for us and is a fantastic offensive player, one of the best offensive players in the league, you have to pay a heavy price.”
This isn’t saying that the Celtics are worse-off with this trade, but they essentially traded away two assets and a draft pick for a PG like the one they just had on the roster.
The Cavs and Celtics play each other three times this season, and inevitably LeBron and Kyrie will end up being teammates on the Eastern Conference All-Star game roster, which means the NBA just introduced more drama than an episode of The Bachelor.
Here are some predictions for how all of this will go down:
Opening night will be AWKWARD
The Celtics and Cavs will face off on October 17th for opening night in the NBA. This game was already looked upon as a prelude to an Eastern Conference Finals matchup. But now this game has become a journalist’s dream. Questions will fly every which way about the chemistry with LeBron when Kyrie was a Cav. Is there still bad blood between the two? Will we see some hard fouling?
Apparently, James is not the least bit upset with Irving or his decision to “break up” with him. On the outside, James is probably showing us all that he was fine but on the inside, he probably wanted to get Kyrie out of town and get someone in who he would be more compatible with.
Lebron is HYPE
Whenever two people break up, it’s not usually just one thing. It’s a myriad of things over time building up until one can’t take it anymore. On the outside, we thought Kyrie and LeBron were brothers. A dynamic duo who would be consistently in the Finals year after year.
But it’s a safe bet to say that Irving wasn’t happy with being second-fiddle, hence why he asked for the trade — so he could be “the man” on another team. It’s a bit of an odd request because having LeBron by your side is almost like a conductor punching your ticket to the Finals every season.
Regardless, with this tension gone between those two, you may see LeBron have one of his best seasons yet. Thomas is an unselfish guard and will most likely flourish with LeBron as a teammate. In fact, LeBron is already running circles of joy and practicing his coast-to-coast finishes as you read this.
Get ready for KD vs. Westbrook 2.0
Remember all of that useless banter about the bad blood between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook last year, after Durant left OKC for Golden State. How annoying was that?
Well, now we can see that scenario once again…but this time on steroids. LeBron and Irving are bigger-name players. Plus we now have an idea of the bad chemistry between the two when Irving tipped his hand when he requested a trade. This will end up being a nightly theme on SportsCenter; topics like what Kyrie is doing without LeBron and if he can do it on his own just like Westbrook did.
If the KD-Westbrook break-up was any indication, the Kyrie-LeBron relationship is going to be front page news all season. Get your popcorn ready.