(photo courtesy of usatoday)
TURN DOWN FOR…blockbuster NBA trades at the end of the August. I’m not sure why Danny Ainge gave up the 2018 Brooklyn pick, unprotected at that, in this trade and not in a trade for Jimmy Butler but I also don’t run an NBA team. On the surface, it seems that the Celtics gave up a lot for Kyrie but the more I stare at my computer screen the more I like this trade for both sides.
They get an NBA champion with the best handles I have ever seen. Kyrie can score on anyone and can get to the basket at will. He also is under contract for the next two seasons as opposed to Isaiah Thomas, who would become a free agent after this upcoming season. Instead of having to worry about potentially giving IT the max of $30 million plus after this season, they get an arguably better point guard for two years. Both aren’t great on defense but Kyrie is bigger than IT and can potentially have more of an impact on defense if he wants to.
Unfortunately they give up IT, a hero in the Boston area, Jae Crowder, a great defender on an even better contract and that 2018 unprotected Brooklyn pick in a top heavy 2018 draft. They also didn’t have to give up Jayson Tatum. But Danny Ainge wanted that star player. He whiffed on Paul George. He whiffed on Jimmy Butler. He wasn’t going to whiff on Kyrie Irving if the opportunity presented itself.
They get rid of Kyrie who has been the talk of the town and an incredible pain in the ass since he announced that he wanted to be traded. In return they get IT, which is essentially a swap, and not only keep themselves in contention this season but also get the opportunity to hit their rebuild quickly and efficiently if LeBron leaves after this year. They get a great defender who can also make things happen on the offensive end in Jae Crowder and they also get Zizic who if he becomes anything will make this trade look better for the Cavs.
The key to this was the Brooklyn pick. If LeBron leaves like a lot of us think he will, and IT leaves for free agency looking for that max deal then Brooklyn pick allows the Cavs to potentially get a guy to build around in the draft. The Cavs wanted to stay in contention for the championship in LeBron’s walk year with the potential to keep this team around (and possibly get even better with that Brooklyn pick!) if he stays and also be able to quickly turn around and rebuild if LeBron walks. The Cavs still remain the favorite in the East because they have LEBRON FREAKING JAMES and if anyone says differently you unfriend them immediately.