It finally happened. After the longest almost-four weeks in recent memory, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally found what they deemed a suitable trade partner for Kyrie Irving. The terms of the deal, as reported widely (first by ESPN) are as follows.
- Isaiah Thomas
- Jae Crowder
- Ante Zizic
- Brooklyn's unprotected 2018 first round pick
Who won this trade?
Yikes. That's hard to tell. The Cavs, I guess? Cleveland took care of their primary issue, which was offloading a player who didn't want to be on their roster. Kyrie Irving, who I'll miss and who I thank for making the biggest shot in Cleveland Cavaliers history, was probably too much of a distraction and too disgruntled to be kept on board for this coming season. That's OK. The Cavs didn't have a lot of choice about whether or not they could keep him. They needed to seek out their best offer. They believe they did that by getting this package from Boston.
By getting Crowder, the Cavs have a legitimate piece that will pull minutes away from LeBron (if this sounds familiar, it should). They also have another strong defender who can guard multiple positions. I don't know enough about Zizic to make any real claims about him, but Crowder's contract is extremely favorable through the summer of 2020.
For Boston, they traded their beloved point guard who is a wizard on offense while being bad on defense. In return, they got a polarizing point guard who is a wizard on offense while being bad on defense. However, they get an extra year out of the deal. Isaiah Thomas's contract is up in the summer of 2018, meaning Boston had no interest in signing him to a max deal (which he'll demand). They were in a position to give him up, and in return they got a (roughly) equally talented player.
Who lost this trade?
Kyrie Irving? He definitely did not just get handed the reigns to a team. He'll (once again) be the 3rd highest paid player on the team. This time, the guy he'll be competing with for top dog status will have a long history with the head coach. Somehow I don't think Kyrie will love it, even if it'll be a nice change of pace for him.
What about that draft pick?
Brooklyn is going to be substantially better than they were last year, so this pick may not be all it's cracked up to be. However, that helps. In fact, as the Cavaliers have to look at the possibility of not having LeBron James after next summer, the pick was a huge "get" in the search for a trade partner.
Additionally, the Isaiah Thomas situation allows the Cavs to - potentially - have a different top-tier player to build around if they feel like LeBron is going to leave Cleveland...although they'd have to pay him handsomely next summer.
Do we need some time to think about this?
Yes. Take a day to think about the reaction here. Two similar point guards were swapped. The Cavs also got a first rounder for next year, an above average wing-defender, a 20-year-old Croatian center as a future project. It stinks that Kyrie Irving - one of the most exciting players in the NBA - is gone. But chew on this for a few days and come back, because I'll do the same and get back to you with my thoughts.