The world took notice yesterday of a blockbuster trade involving The Cavs and Celtics. Celtics traded away Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and 2018 protected pick for Kyrie Irving. One teams declines for the time being while the other is doing everything in it’s power to keep LeBron around.
To a certain extent, IT and Kyrie are the exact same player. Both have similar styles. They can shoot from anywhere on the floor and both have a gift at attacking the basket. IT’s stats are very similar to those of Kyrie last season, but something to take notice is IT got to the free throw line a lot more than Kyrie Irving did. Size has some portion to do with that, but shooting almost 9 FT’s a game isn’t something to be looked over by any player.
Swapping the two players actually benefits Cleveland a lot more right now. IT is less ball dominant to a certain extent, an would be willing to do what Kyrie wouldn’t want to. What hurts Boston most in this trade is losing Jae Crowder. He’s a 6’6 small forward who can guard positions 1-3 and is a decent 3-point shooter, knocking down 39% of them last season. The team was already doomed by losing Avery Bradley to Detroit, but now both of their best on-ball and perimeter defenders are gone.
Cleveland is planning for next summer. The biggest piece to this trade is the protected Nets pick given to Cleveland in next years draft. If the Nets this season play like we all expect them to, Cavs will have another #1 overall pick and its another way to lure LeBron back. Jae Crowder helps as well, as he’s an obvious addition as a backup to LeBron over Richard Jefferson and Jeff Green who is declining. Defensively, Boston will be very sketchy next season. Kyrie puts just as much effort in defensively as IT, none, newly added Gordon Hayward isn’t a great defender in his own right either. From top to bottom on that roster, outside of Smart and Rozier, just showing effort on D might be an issue. Being better than Cleveland now isn’t even the question, it’s are they even better at all.
Isaiah Thomas hip injury from last season is said to have played a part in Boston trading him, as he might not even be ready for the start of the season. But that fact he’s uses his small frame a lot and much energy, I’m sure Danny Ainge questioned his production going forward. Cavs though, have breathing room and options. Both LeBron and IT are on last years of their deals. If LeBron leaves they have the option to either offer IT that contract he’s playing for this season, or let him go as well and just rebuild overall. All in all, Cleveland is the winner of this deal, while Celtics won’t really see how good they really are come end of April when we all see where they are seeded.