Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics roughly 7 months ago now. With the playoffs approaching so fast, and the pieces in which Cleveland has turned into is so different now, the time seemed right to re-visit the trade. So lets review:
The Celtics sent Isiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Ante Zizic along with the 2018 first round Brooklyn Nets pick, and a 2020 second round draft pick to Cleveland. The Celtics in turn, received Kyrie. The move was hailed around the Boston market. And even though they had presumably given up a lot, Irving, was worth it. Cleveland had gotten a good return, about as well as they could have hoped for at least. So their future wasn’t shot. Lets dive a little deeper into the trade though.
Isiah Thomas controls the ball as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Isiah was the assumed biggest player asset acquired by Cleveland. He missed a good chunk of the season due to a hip injury, and when he came back he was very underwhelming. Thomas averaged just 14.7 points, 4.5 Assists, shot only 36% and had a 3 pt. field goal % of just 25! They also went only 7-8 in games he played. To say that that was going to cut it in a Lebron led system was a long shot and a half. The Cavs then dealt him at the deadline to Los Angeles. They sent a package of Thomas, Channing Frye and their own 2018 first round draft pick (not the Brooklyn one acquired in the original Boston trade) to the Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance JR, two very young, talented players with bright futures. Larry Nance Jr., a second year out of Wyoming has averaged around 11 points a game and has shot an incredible 58% from the floor. Jordan Clarkson, a 3rd year out of Missouri, has averaged 13.6 points and shot 46% from the floor.
Above Jae Crowder in the huddle during a timeout as a member of the Utah Jazz.
Jae Crowder, was also dealt at the deadline by Cleveland. He was sent in a three-way deal between the Utah Jazz, Cleveland and the Sacramento Kings, to Utah along with his teammate Derek Rose. Utah sent Joe Johnson to the Sacramento Kings, and the Kings sent George Hill to the Cavs. Since Rose has been his normal injury prone self, this move was also hailed as a very good move by the Cleveland front office. Hill has been solid in his time with the Cavs as well, since his arrival he’s started all 19 games, averaged 10.3 points and shot 45% from the floor. Since the trade deadline the Cavs are 13-7.
So if we use our imaginations a little bit, you could make the argument that trading Kyrie, and a first round draft pick has returned Cleveland George Hill, Larry Nance Jr, Jordan Clarkson, Ante Zizic the Celtics 2020 second round draft pick and the 2018 first round Brooklyn Nets pick. That Brooklyn pick has the opportunity to be the #1 overall pick and I can not stress that enough. Its being thrown around that this is the strongest draft class since the Lebron, Mello and Wade draft of 2003.
All things considered, I still say this was an even trade. It set both Boston and Cleveland up for the long run, with both giving up valuable assets. Boston has a strong young core, and they’re only going to get better next year when they get Hayward back. Cleveland is in the position to make trades in the offseason if necessary to keep Lebron and they can also stand strong knowing they have some really good picks and a good young group of guys as well. So in my assessment, both teams made out pretty well.