The longer-than-it-should-have-been Kyrie Irving trade saga is finally over, and all it took was the addition of the Boston Celtics-owned 2020 second-round draft pick.
Boston and the Cleveland Cavaliers initially agreed to a deal on August 22 that would send Irving to the Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, rookie big man Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-rounder. It elicited strong reactions from both fan bases.
But after a physical raised more concerns about the torn right labrum in Thomas’ hip, the pact hit a snag. The Cavaliers apparently then hoped to extract another first-rounder in the deal, while other teams like the Milwaukee Bucks worked to nab Irving out from under the Celtics.
In the end, Boston and Cleveland met in the middle to finish the Irving trade: The Miami Heat’s 2020 second-rounder would also go to the Cavs.
Boston will send its 2020 second-round pick via Miami to Cavaliers to complete the trade, league sources said. Boston would budge no more.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 31, 2017
It’s not much, but considering how little leverage the Cavs had, and the fact that they’d probably have accepted the original trade eventually, it’s a win.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, “there is at least a slight chance” Thomas’ hip will not heal properly, in which case he’d require season-ending surgery.
“There’s never been an indication that I wouldn’t be back, and there’s never been an indication that this is something messing up my career,” Thomas told Woj earlier this week. “Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I’m going to be back, and I’m going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that.”
Cavaliers players, particularly LeBron James, were upset when the team didn’t bring back general manager David Griffin. But judging by his early performance, it appears newly promoted GM Koby Altman will be just fine.
The NBA season will tip off on October 17, when the Celtics visit the Cavaliers. It’s gonna be lit.