The Celtics and Cavs pulled off a blockbuster trade last week sending Kyrie Irving to the Celtics and Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the 1st Round Nets pick in 2018 to the Cavs. The Celtics overpaid in this trade, but that’s what you have to do to land a player of Irving’s caliber. He’s already a Top 10 player in the NBA and, at age 25, he hasn’t even reached his prime yet. The Celtics were well on their way to contending for a championship for many years to come with a core of Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jalen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. Until Friday night…
The Cavaliers conducted a physical on Isaiah Thomas and decided that they were going to use that as leverage to get more from the Celtics. The Celtics were very transparent about Thomas’ injury. They even made it clear that they didn’t feel he would be ready for the regular season. The Cavs knew all of this. First year GM, Koby Altman, decided that he was going to play games and try to convince Danny Ainge to give him more in return for Irving. Danny Ainge. The same guy who hasn’t lost a trade in at least five years. The same guy who handed Kevin Garnett. The same guy who took the guts out of the Brooklyn Nets franchise. Good luck, Koby.
Ainge knows that the prize of this trade was not Thomas. He’s in his last year of his contract and he’s banged up. The prize was the Nets pick which is expected to be a top five pick once again. In addition, the Cavs got two role players in Crowder and Zizic. That’s plenty! It’s being speculated that the Celtics have no leverage and now need to give up more after this deal was made. There’s no way Isaiah and Crowder would come back to Boston! Cleveland has Boston up against a wall, right?
It’s the Cavs who have no leverage here. No the Celtics. Kyrie Irving has made it clear that he doesn’t want to play there anymore. If the deal were to be nixed, the Cavs would have a huge problem on their hands. They would not get the value of the Nets pick along with IT, Crowder, and Zizic anywhere else. So they’re going to go cancel a trade to ultimately get a lesser return? Talk about having egg on your face!
The Celtics, on the other hand, can deal with Thomas’ injury, bring back Crowder and Zizic, and roll the dice again in next year’s lottery. Losing Kyrie Irving does not ruin their future. They still have many chips to play with and it would only be a matter of time before Ainge used them. The talk of IT and Crowder not being willing to come back in nonsense. They would have to. They’re under contract. They’re not going to turn down millions of dollars to not honor a contract. Danny Ainge knows better.
Sorry Lebron, but you’re stuck with an injured IT. Enjoy watching the Celtics in the Finals from the couch.