By Justin Thomas
With the way this NBA offseason has been going it’s no surprise that a huge blockbuster trade would happen in late August. This blockbuster however includes the 2 best teams in the Eastern Conference. The Cleveland Cavaliers traded superstar point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. In return the Cavaliers receive all-star Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Antic Zizic and the Nets 2018 draft pick.
Although the Cavaliers lose Kyrie they gain an all-star point guard in Isaiah Thomas. Last season I.T. averaged 28.9 ppg, 2.7 rbg and 5.9 assists. Thomas used his brilliant play to lead the Celtics to a 1st place finish in the Eastern Conference and a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. At 5’9 Thomas is unfazed and will drop buckets on you in an instant. Thomas is deceptively tough around the rim with great finishing ability and is a lethal 3 point shooter. His passing ability is also something that flies under the radar. The Cavs also get Jae Crowder who is a versatile wing capable of playing the 3 or 4. Crowder has the ability to stretch the floor with his shooting as well as put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket. Defensively Crowder matches up well against most players at his position as well as the ability to handle some guards. Although Crowder didn’t live up to his potential last season, a change of scenery and playing with one of the greatest of all time could be just what he needs to finally break out. On top of all that the Cavs get the Nets’ 2018 1st round pick which was a coveted asset for Danny Ainge. On top of getting good players for Kyrie the Cavs also get a draft pick guaranteed to be in the top 10, possibly a lottery pick with the Nets still rebuilding. In case LeBron does leave at the end of the season, the Nets pick will come in handy in being able to draft a top prospect.
For the Celtics it’s pretty simple. They get one of the best young talents in the game today. Irving a.k.a. Uncle Drew is arguably a top 5 scorer in this league with the ability to make defenders look silly with his ungodly handles. Irving gets what he wants which is to be the face of a franchise and get out from under LeBron’s shadow. He goes to a Celtics team that it poised to challenge the Cavs in the East. The addition of Gordon Hayward and 3rd overall pick Jayson Tatum make the Celtics even better from what they were last year. It will be interesting to see how Hayward and Irving work on the court together as well as how Irving will involve Tatum in the offense.
The first game of the NBA season features a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals as the Celtics travel to Cleveland. It’s almost as if the basketball Gods are actually listening to our prayers.