Insane. Impossible. There are a ton of words to use to describe the trade. But let me read a tweet to tell you one word that cannot be used. This comes from respected Jungle Historian, Steve in H-Town: @jimrome Any time Cleveland and Boston are mentioned in the same headline, you are required to reset the #BOHICA call. Rules are rules.
No, Steve, those aren’t the rules. I set the rules here. And if you weren’t Steve in H-Town, you would be Steve in Blocked-ville.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get back to the trade. Cleveland sent Kyrie Irving to their biggest Eastern Conference rival, the Boston Celtics, in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, highly-touted prospect Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first-round pick.
It’s rare to see two all-stars at the same position get traded for each other. Let alone in-conference. And between the two top teams in the conference. And yet somehow, it happened. Somehow, Danny Ainge finally pulled the trigger on a deal that involved those legendary Nets picks and after not going for an elite forward, Boston ended up with a star point guard. They got younger at the position that Thomas played and they probably weren’t excited about re-signing Thomas to a max deal anyway. Oh, and they got Kyrie and get to turn him loose with Gordon Hayward under Brad Stevens, which will be fascinating.
What a 24 hours for Kyrie, right? First there’s the eclipse, which is kind of a hard concept for flat-earth truthers to wrap their minds around, if he really is a flat-earth truther, and then he finds out he’s being traded to the Celtics. And if I were him, I would be pretty damn excited.
First, you’re getting away from LeBron, which seemed to be a major priority for him. Secondly, you’re playing for Brad Stevens, which would be a major priority for anyone. And thirdly, you’ve got a very nice chance to see LeBron in the conference finals and settle some scores. And if you look at the group that Ainge has assembled, with Kyrie, Hayward, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum, there’s some serious potential for both the short-term and the long-term.
And then there’s the Cavs side of the deal. A truly crazy move for Cleveland. After letting go of an elite GM who got them to three straight Finals and a title, they trade an elite guard who got them to three straight Finals and a title. And yet, I don’t hate the deal for the Cavs. Actually, I kind of love it. And I’m definitely impressed by it.
Once it leaked that Kyrie wanted out, the Cavs had next to leverage. Really, None. And yet somehow, with their backs against the wall and not wanting to go into the regular season with Kyrie trade rumors and LeBron leaving rumors hanging over them, they came out of the deal with an All-Star, a high-end defender, a young big in Zizic and the Nets 2018 unprotected first round pick. Thomas doesn’t have the name value that Kyrie does, but his production isn’t much different. They’re both forces on the offensive end and on defense….well, they’re both offensive forces. Yes, Thomas has a hip injury, but the Cavs don’t seem to worried about it.
But not only did they somehow get an All-Star for an All-Star, and then some, but they also gained flexibility. If LeBron and Thomas both re-sign, they still have a high first rounder to go with Love in C-Town. And if they both leave, they’re in a position to start the rebuild. But in the meantime, they stay in the chase for a title. Their defense got better and if reports are to be believed, so did their chemistry.
Are they closer to Golden State after this deal than they were before? Probably not. Thomas might have his work cut out for him in trying to defend Steph or Klay, but the key thing is that somehow, the Cavs traded an All-Star guard who wanted out and they didn’t lose much ground. Impressive. Incredible. Amazing. There are a lot of words to use to describe this trade and yet through it all, somehow, Steve in H-Town picked the one word that you can’t use – BOHICA.