So the most hyped move of the offseason finally takes place, was it even the biggest move of the NBA offseason with Chris Paul going to Houston?
And the best thing is, the Celtics travel to Cleveland for the opening game of the season. These two teams played each other in the Eastern Conference Finals and are favourites to finish 1,2 in the East again. Also no two 25+ PPG scorers have been traded for each other. Put some marketing around that!
Ayden and myself evaluate the trade.
Cavaliers get: Isaiah Thomas (1Yr $6.3 Million), Jae Crowder (3Yrs $21.9 Million), Ante Zizic (2Yrs $3.6 Million), Nets’ 2018 first-round pick (from Brooklyn)
Celtics get: Kyrie Irving (2Yrs, $38.9 Million waived Trade Kicker to facilitate deal)
BOSTON CELTICS: B- CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: A
After being able to sit on it for a day, I’m not as down on this trade as I was but I still think this hurts Boston this season. Sure, Kyrie was a better shooter last season but he also had the luxury of getting wide open looks when LeBron plowed through the lane. IT had to create his own shots, although I’m sure Kyrie will enjoy being able to do that. The big question is whether Kyrie is open to learning the playbook of Brad Stevens, which is much more complex than that of Tyronn Lue. Also, will Kyrie and Gordon Hayward co-exist as both need the ball to be truly effective.
POSITIVES: If Hayward and Kyrie can figure it out, offense will be very deadly. Kyrie should have a better attitude now that he can be ‘the man.’ No big decision with IT to make now.
NEGATIVES: Hayward and Kyrie figuring it out is a big if. Perimeter defense is going to be much weaker with no Avery Bradley or Jae Crowder. C’s still didn’t address post defense either. Defense in general will be fairly weak, I’d imagine. If Brad Stevens shows any kinda favouritism towards Hayward, he could start sulking again. His attitude stinks.
POSITIVES: Incredible wing depth, a huge issue last season. IT should help with a more free-flowing offense with better off-ball ability than Kyrie. Crowder is on one of the best low-key contracts in the league. Excellent defender able to defend most 1-4 players. That Brooklyn pick could be huge. This allows one more championship push.
NEGATIVES: IT’s health is questionable and he relies on athleticism. Bad hip could severely limit his effectiveness. Cavs now have to make hard decision on IT’s contract status.
BOSTON CELTICS: B CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: A
To start off I’m not going to say that this trade was a win for Cleveland and a loss for Boston. It was a WIN WIN for both teams, to varying degrees. Cleveland got the better end of this trade but both teams are better off for a variety of reasons. Reasons below with the positives outweighing the negatives for both teams.
POSITIVES: Irving is clutch, a better shooter of the 3 (40% last season compared to Thomas’s 38%) and is the best ISO player in the NBA right now. He won a championship with the Cavs & can play better D than IT. Just an effort thing with Kyrie, in the 2015-16 playoffs Kyrie showed he can pick it up on the defensive end when he needed to. And this stood out whereas IT just can’t play defense full stop. Statistically one of the worst in the NBA last season.
This trade clears some room for Boston’s wings, someone was going to get pissed off. Crowder didn’t like the fans chanting for Hayward last season when Utah visited and now he is on the roster. With Hayward, Morris, Tatum and Brown, Crowders minutes would have reduce, now they can play guys with clearer roles.
The Celtics won’t have to pay IT max money. This was a big question leading into this season, with his last injury and poor defence was he worth paying the max for? He would have almost certainly got the max from another team and if he left, the Celtics would be relying on Smart and Rozier to start on this team. That problem has now vanished and has been replaced with a guaranteed Irving for 2 years.
NEGATIVES: Team continuity, only 4 players remain on this squad from last season. Only 2 from the season before. You can keep upgrading players but you can lose your sense of identity. A lot of meshing has yet to be worked out on this squad who hardly know each other.
Defense, Crowder was Boston’s second best defender after Bradley and he’s gone too. Crowder is a versatile defender on the wing, big enough to bang in the post and quick enough on the perimeter. One of your guys to match up against LeBron. Passing, Thomas is not a traditional Point Guard by any means but he is a much more willing passer than Irving. Boston needs to play up tempo and hopefully Kyrie doesn’t slow it down.
They give up their best pick which could go anywhere from 1 to 10, adding to their good young core. Was this too much goodies in the basket sent to Cleveland?
And then there’s Kyrie being Kyrie…
POSITIVES: They get the best of all types of players you can get in a trade, an All-Star, a very good role player (on a great deal), a prospect and a pick (a damn good one). All for a guy who wanted to leave. They gain more defense on the wing with more bodies, Crowder might actually help LeBron reduce his workload. And they don’t lose any scoring as IT plays similar to Kyrie he should fit well next to LeBron. Cap flexibility going into the offseason looks a lot better for the Cavs and they have options for the future. Crowder is locked in on great money while they can offer IT the max if they want or let him walk if they can’t make a deal.
NEGATIVES: IT’s hip injury is the major concern. Is this why the Cavs got back 3 other pieces in the trade? They sure don’t want Derrick Rose starting at the 1 for the majority of the season. They somehow get worse defensively at Point Guard with the backups being awful as well….
AND now for that Melo trade….