After one of the most entertaining parts of the basketball season that didn’t feature a single meaningful dribble of a ball, the NBA offseason saved its best move for last with the blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first round pick.
Fans of both sides were blind sided by a bigger haymaker at the hands of Shams and Woj than you saw at any point during the entire Mayweather vs. McGregor PPV. Most of the time after a huge trade like this, it takes time for everyone to catch their breath, and realize the fallout of the trade. Yet nothing within the trade will match the catastrophic fallout of this trade falling through.
There are just certain things you can’t do. You can’t ever fix your head if you decide to go with the cue ball look, you can’t ever take back that comment where you tell your girlfriend she might actually look a little big in those pants, and you can’t undo one of the biggest star-studded trades the NBA has ever seen. Yet for some reason, the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers are doing everything in their power to drop a nuclear bomb on their own franchise by not going through with this deal.
As of right now, the deal is technically done. The players have swapped rosters, we’ve already seen Vegas update their over/under odds accordingly, and the trade is nearly finalized. What is technically holding the trade up is Cleveland’s desire to acquire more assets, while Boston is firmly wrapped around Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and that Lakers protected pick like they’re a child unwilling to let go of their parent’s leg on their first day of school. These teams just have a matter of days to figure this out before the deadline passes.
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) August 29, 2017
The result of these team’s nixing this deal would be as if these teams fired off nuclear bombs only for them to sputter out and come crashing down at the initial launch site. The destruction on either side would be irreparable.
First, you can take a look from Boston’s standpoint. Ever since the Celtics’ last big trade where they sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets for every first round pick they’d ever have ever again, this team has been building up assets in order to land a big fish, and they finally got that in the form of 25-year old All-Star and NBA Champion Kyrie Irving. What would hurt this team wouldn’t be the absence of Kyrie, it would be the stars who would return back “home.”
Take Jae Crowder for example. The small forward saw his career take off in Boston as he became the best player in a trade that involved former All-Star Rajon Rondo. While he has embraced Celtics fans, he openly called them out when they began to cheer for Gordon Hayward before he was even a Celtic.
Remember this?? "Jae Crowder got really mad when Celtics fans cheered for Gordon Hayward" https://t.co/a2OeXl0FQC
— Daman Rangoola (@damanr) August 24, 2017
This is the same guy who was pissed off when fans cheered for Hayward, only to see him sign with the team and ultimately cut into his minutes. Then, the Celtics traded him, using him as leverage to complete the Kyrie trade in hopes for a better future. Why in the name of all that is holy would he ever want to come back? He’d probably erase the word “Boston” from his vocabulary.
The Boston Marathon would just be confused with every other marathon in his mind, the Boston Tea Party would end up just sounding like a hipster event that boycotts coffee, and “Boston Cream Pie” would then just sound like a porn genre without the name of the city involved.
Crowder would eventually fall into the same shoes as Lamar Odom. No, this doesn’t mean he would be found deep within a crack den. It means he would still request a trade following the collapse of a deal, just like Odom did when the NBA vetoed the deal that would’ve sent him to New Orleans in return for Chris Paul. It would be the last straw for Crowder, who likely wouldn’t want to suit up for that team in that city ever again.
All this is very awkward considering Ainge, Stevens, owners, some players, others have already spoken of Thomas/Crowder as former #Celtics.
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) August 26, 2017
If that would be the case for Crowder, you couldn’t blame Isaiah Thomas for feeling the same way. While Crowder has felt disrespected by Boston, and deservedly so, Thomas deserved better. He’s had to scrap and go through hell just to get to the point he’s at. From the last pick in the draft to bouncing from Sacramento and Phoenix, IT finally found a home in Boston. A place that where he developed into a superstar.
Boston was the place that where he developed into a superstar. The place where he made his first two All-Star appearances when he couldn’t even find a starting job elsewhere around the league. The place which he became an MVP candidate and not just Mr. Irrelevant. In return for the opportunity, Thomas truly gave everything to the city of Boston. Once the Kyrie trade was in play, he was cast aside as if he didn’t score 53 points just days after oral surgery. The day that happened to be the birthday of his recently deceased sister.
RT celticsnetwork: 1. Isaiah Thomas scores 53 points on the birthday of his late sister. One of the legendary mome… pic.twitter.com/4nomdepQhD
— Celtic Rookie (@celtic_rookie) July 29, 2017
If there was ever a question about this league being a business, this trade proved it.
After all that happened, how can the Celtics expect him to be the same kind of player, especially after some of the more idiotic people on the planet burnt his jersey once the trade was announced? The scary truth is, Boston wouldn’t expect him to be the same player. That was a huge factor in the decision to trade him in the first place.
Ainge admitted that Isaiah Thomas' hip injury did play "some" into him making the deal.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) August 23, 2017
Whether it’s Cleveland actually becoming nervous after Isaiah Thomas took a physical for the team or if they’re using his hip in order to lure another pick or player from Boston, this is technically the reason why the trade hasn’t gone through. Thomas will go from being one of the most inspiring stories and one of the better scorers in the NBA to tainted goods. No team would want to go near him, and if they did, they wouldn’t want to give nearly as much for an aging superstar with hip problems who still believes he should get max money.
As for Cleveland, the mass destruction surrounding Quicken Loans Arena would not exactly be much better.
If this trade didn’t go through, there is no reason to think teams wouldn’t low-ball Cleveland to death by having the opportunity to get Kyrie and LeBron out of the same locker room in their face. Can you just imagine those post-game press conferences where both of those athletes would have to pretend they wanted to be there? You could probably feel the tension from your living room each time they hit the podium,
The Cavs are trying to trade him. If they don't like the Boston deal then Kyrie goes elsewhere or having him could ruin this season. https://t.co/CJvHE8COkG
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) August 29, 2017
There is not a single deal that would give them more options than the Kyrie trade that involves Boston. While they would be giving up one of the best guards in the NBA during his prime, they’d be receiving pieces to help them out in the present in Thomas and Crowder, as well as pieces to help them out in the future with Zizic and more importantly, the coveted Nets pick.
We still won’t be able to figure out which team was a winner or a loser in this trade, or if it will ever be clear. What we do know is each of these franchises would be taking a torpedo right to the past performances these stars have given them, the present season in front of them, as well as the future of their team. It would be like hitting the trifecta, except in this scenario you don’t win anything, and you lose everything.