After requesting a trade from the Cavaliers, superstar point guard Kyrie Irving finally got his wish as he is officially apart of Cavaliers’ rival, the Boston Celtics. In exchange for Irving, the Celtics sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and two draft picks to Cleveland.
The trade was put on hold after physical results for Isaiah Thomas showed he had a serious hip injury. Thomas stated that he will be the “same player” when he returns, but did not give a timetable for when that will be. Cleveland was reportedly seeking more compensation in result of this, but only pried away an extra draft pick from the Celtics; which was not hard to do considering both teams could not afford this trade to fall through.
The Celtics expect this trade to put them over the top as Irving teams up with newly acquired all-star Gordon Hayward to attempt to take the Eastern Conference away from LeBron James, who has represented the east in the NBA Finals the last seven years. The two superstars were introduced last Friday, and they showed no effort to disguise how ecstatic they both were to get to work.
Irving was asked extensively why his relationship with Cleveland went bad and why a trade was in his best interest. Irving reiterated that, “it was time to do what was best for me in terms of my intentions, and that’s going after something bigger than myself.”
Irving reportedly sought a larger spotlight, and no longer wanted to play in the shadow of LeBron James. Hayward and Irving announced they had previous intentions of teaming up in Cleveland back in 2013 when Hayward hit the market for the first time as a restricted free agent. Hayward continued and said, “then LeBron came and kind of squashed the whole thing.”
As the Celtics made the moves throughout free agency, the draft, and this trade to solidify their future and be a contender year-in and year-out, the Cavaliers got as much as they could to solidify their future whether LeBron James decides to depart or not.
These two teams were a huge rivalry before, but this trade makes it even more intense. Cleveland and Boston are the favorites to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row, and fans get a preview of that when the NBA season kicks off on October 17th when the Celtics face the Cavaliers in Kyrie’s return home to Cleveland.