Kent Tukeli |  Sat 26/08/2017 - 09:23 EDT

Kyrie Irving Trade To Boston Gives Cleveland Cavaliers Hope

Kyrie Irving Trade To Boston Gives Cleveland Cavaliers Hope
A Kyrie Irving trade to the Celtics caps off the craziest offseason in NBA history. The top two teams in the eastern conference trade all-star point guards after meeting in the conference finals. This type of transaction’s unprecedented, and a considerable risk for GM Danny Ainge and the Celtics. After a difficult few months of uncertainty, the Cavaliers front office has reason to smile again.

Boston Pulls The Trigger

Danny Ainge has been patient over the past couple of years, constantly rumoured in trade talks because of his deep reserves of lottery picks and talent. The Celtics have been linked to dozens of stars in trade and free agent talks, including Kevin Durant, Paul George and Jimmy Butler. Ainge’s inability to land Butler or George via trade wasn’t popular with many observers.

Often, the asking price was rumoured to be too high. Ainge didn’t want to include lottery picks and established contributors like Jae Crowder for Butler or George. In retrospect, it’s tough to see why Boston couldn’t make a deal, because Indiana and Chicago didn’t get as much as expected when they traded with Oklahoma City and Minnesota.

Compared to the Butler and George trades, the price Boston paid for Kyrie seems excessive. Isaiah Thomas scores more than Kyrie and represents only a small downgrade in defence. Jae Crowder’s superb defence and solid 3-point shooting meshes well with the needs of LeBron.

Throw in centre Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s first-round pick in 2018, and it begins to appear that Ainge may have overestimated the market for Kyrie. After all, the Cavaliers were forced into this scenario, which should have reduced Cleveland’s leverage.

Cavaliers Got Exactly What They Needed – And More

After ex-GM David Griffin left Cleveland, the front office was in shambles, unable to sign free agents or find a replacement general manager. When news broke that Kyrie Irving was demanding a trade to get away from LeBron James, the timing couldn’t have been worse, considering Cavs plans to scoop Carmelo Anthony. The situation looked grim – no Kyrie and no Melo, putting Cleveland’s runback against the Warriors in question.

A majority of NBA franchises were interested in Kyrie Irving, but nobody seemed to be in a rush. Tactically, letting Cleveland twist in the wind for a while would increase urgency on behalf of the Cavs, reducing the cost of acquiring Kyrie. Instead of showing his trademark patience, Danny Ainge pulled the trigger well before the end of the summer.

Cleveland added scoring, three-point shooting and defence with Thomas and Crowder, a young centre with a mean streak, and a lottery pick in an extremely deep draft. After becoming a Celtics legend, Thomas feels slighted by this trade, which will serve as additional motivation to destroy the eastern conference. Crowder was a heart and soul player for Boston, happy to spot up around the arc while locking down the perimeter. Who knows – even Zizic might contribute minutes as a bully backup center.

This trade also gives Cleveland a plethora of options, because none of these players are guaranteed to stay with the Cavaliers. The Cavs might flip the pick and the prospect before the season starts, landing Carmelo Anthony or another key contributor. Perhaps the Anthony Davis- DeMarcus Cousins experiment goes awry in New Orleans, opening an opportunity to trade for Boogie.

The Cavaliers may decide that LeBron has sufficient reinforcements for another deep playoff run, holding on to the pick for a shot at Marvin Bagley III or RJ Barrett. Maybe they’ll trade their own 2018 first-round pick instead. Whichever path the Cavs choose will ensure that they compete for a ring while building for a better future. Cleveland couldn’t ask for a better ending to a difficult trade scenario. Maybe that’s why LeBron was thanking Kyrie when the deal was announced.

Why Would Boston Give So Much To Their Rivals?

This move makes sense in the long term for the Celtics. Kyrie’s younger, and will remain in his prime as Boston’s picks and prospects mature into stars. Irving also has another year on his contract, so Boston could decide to flip some of their picks for Cousins or another elite player. They might resign Irving to a long-term deal in a couple of years, and still have enough cash to compete in the free agent market – as long as they’re OK with going into the tax for a year or two.

The Celtics are betting that Kyrie will find solace and motivation in taking over as the alpha dog, meshing well with Gordon Hayward and Al Horford. If surly Kyrie shows up and decides to sign with another team, fans will not look upon Danny Ainge kindly. Same if Irving gets banged up.

LeBron James and the Cavaliers remain the favourites to win the eastern conference and face the Warriors for the fourth straight season. If the Celtics play their cards right, Kyrie will lead Boston to the NBA Finals when LeBron migrates to the Los Angeles Lakers – if the rumors have any truth.

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October 2017 (12)
Wed 4 Atlanta Hawks 19:00 Cavaliers
Fri 6 Indiana Pacers 19:30 Cavaliers
Sun 8 Cavaliers 19:00 Wizards
Tue 10 Chicago Bulls 19:00 Cavaliers
Fri 13 Cavaliers 19:00 Orlando Magic
Tue 17 Boston Celtics 20:00 Cavaliers +147 -175 Odds
Fri 20 Cavaliers 19:00 Milwaukee Bucks -145 +122 Odds
Sat 21 Orlando Magic 20:00 Cavaliers
Tue 24 Chicago Bulls 19:00 Cavaliers
Wed 25 Cavaliers 19:30 Brooklyn Nets
Sat 28 Cavaliers 19:00 Pelicans
Sun 29 New York Knicks 19:00 Cavaliers
November 2017 (15)
Wed 1 Indiana Pacers 19:00 Cavaliers
Fri 3 Cavaliers 19:00 Wizards
Sun 5 Atlanta Hawks 15:00 Cavaliers
Tue 7 Milwaukee Bucks 19:00 Cavaliers
Thu 9 Cavaliers 20:00 Houston Rockets
Sat 11 Cavaliers 20:30 Dallas Mavericks
Mon 13 Cavaliers 19:30 New York Knicks
Wed 15 Cavaliers 20:00 Hornets
Fri 17 L.A. Clippers 19:30 Cavaliers
Mon 20 Cavaliers 19:00 Detroit Pistons
Wed 22 Brooklyn Nets 19:00 Cavaliers
Fri 24 Hornets 20:00 Cavaliers
Mon 27 Cavaliers 19:00 Sixers
Tue 28 Miami Heat 19:00 Cavaliers
Thu 30 Cavaliers 19:30 Atlanta Hawks
December 2017 (14)
Sat 2 Grizzlies 19:30 Cavaliers
Mon 4 Cavaliers 20:00 Chicago Bulls
Wed 6 Sacramento Kings 19:00 Cavaliers
Fri 8 Cavaliers 19:00 Indiana Pacers
Sat 9 Sixers 20:00 Cavaliers
Tue 12 Atlanta Hawks 19:00 Cavaliers
Thu 14 L.A. Lakers 20:00 Cavaliers
Sat 16 Utah Jazz 19:30 Cavaliers
Sun 17 Cavaliers 18:00 Wizards
Tue 19 Cavaliers 20:00 Milwaukee Bucks
Thu 21 Chicago Bulls 19:00 Cavaliers
Mon 25 Cavaliers 15:00 Warriors
Wed 27 Cavaliers 22:00 Sacramento Kings
Sat 30 Cavaliers 20:00 Utah Jazz
January 2018 (14)
Tue 2 Blazers 19:00 Cavaliers
Wed 3 Cavaliers 20:00 Boston Celtics
Sat 6 Cavaliers 19:00 Orlando Magic
Mon 8 Cavaliers 20:00 Wolves
Thu 11 Cavaliers 20:00 Toronto Raptors
Fri 12 Cavaliers 19:00 Indiana Pacers
Mon 15 Warriors 20:00 Cavaliers
Thu 18 Orlando Magic 19:00 Cavaliers
Sat 20 Thunder 15:30 Cavaliers
Tue 23 Cavaliers 20:00 Spurs
Fri 26 Indiana Pacers 19:30 Cavaliers
Sun 28 Detroit Pistons 18:00 Cavaliers
Tue 30 Cavaliers 20:00 Detroit Pistons
Wed 31 Miami Heat 19:30 Cavaliers
February 2018 (10)
Sat 3 Houston Rockets 20:30 Cavaliers
Tue 6 Cavaliers 19:00 Orlando Magic
Wed 7 Wolves 20:00 Cavaliers
Fri 9 Cavaliers 19:30 Atlanta Hawks
Sun 11 Cavaliers 15:30 Boston Celtics
Tue 13 Cavaliers 20:00 Thunder
Thu 22 Wizards 20:00 Cavaliers
Fri 23 Cavaliers 20:00 Grizzlies
Sun 25 Spurs 15:30 Cavaliers
Tue 27 Brooklyn Nets 19:00 Cavaliers
March 2018 (16)
Thu 1 Sixers 20:00 Cavaliers
Sat 3 Denver Nuggets 19:30 Cavaliers
Mon 5 Detroit Pistons 19:00 Cavaliers
Wed 7 Cavaliers 22:30 Denver Nuggets
Fri 9 Cavaliers 22:30 L.A. Clippers
Sun 11 Cavaliers 21:00 L.A. Lakers
Tue 13 Cavaliers 22:00 Phoenix Suns
Thu 15 Cavaliers 22:00 Blazers
Sat 17 Cavaliers 20:00 Chicago Bulls
Mon 19 Milwaukee Bucks 19:00 Cavaliers
Wed 21 Toronto Raptors 19:00 Cavaliers
Fri 23 Phoenix Suns 19:30 Cavaliers
Sun 25 Cavaliers 13:00 Brooklyn Nets
Tue 27 Cavaliers 20:00 Miami Heat
Wed 28 Cavaliers 19:00 Hornets
Fri 30 Pelicans 20:00 Cavaliers
April 2018 (6)
Sun 1 Dallas Mavericks 18:00 Cavaliers
Tue 3 Toronto Raptors 19:00 Cavaliers
Thu 5 Wizards 20:00 Cavaliers
Fri 6 Cavaliers 19:00 Sixers
Mon 9 Cavaliers 19:30 New York Knicks
Wed 11 New York Knicks 20:00 Cavaliers

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