Cavaliers Trade Kyrie Irving To The Celtics In Deal That Includes Isaiah Thomas

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

About a month after requesting a trade, Kyrie Irving got his wish—the Cleveland Cavaliers are sending the All-Star point guard to the Boston Celtics for fellow All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, veteran wing Jae Crowder, rookie center Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, which the Celtics had possessed since trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn in 2013.

In July, it was reported that Irving had met with the Cavs front office and requested a trade so he could be the focal point of an offense—not LeBron James’ sidekick. In that meeting, Irving reportedly listed four preferred destinations. The Celtics weren’t among the named teams.

Considering he wanted out, this is a great return for Cleveland, landing a temporary replacement for Irving in Thomas, as well as a veteran role player in Crowder to help the Cavaliers’ championship aspirations in 2017-18. With the increasingly real possibility that LeBron will leave the team in free agency a season from now, the Nets’ first-rounder is a valuable piece that could go a long way if the team is forced to enter a full-on rebuild.

For Boston, the move does a few things. First, they’ve finally used their war chest of assets—many of which were acquired in that Nets trade—to land an indisputable superstar. It also solves their future point guard conundrum. Thomas is in the last year of his contract, and it looked like the team would have to decide whether to let him walk in 2018 or pay an exorbitant price for an undersized point guard who we’ve seen get played off the floor in the playoffs. Thomas has also been dealing with a hip injury since the end of last season. Irving has three seasons left on his contract for a total of $60 million, but can opt out of the third season.

Irving, who’s been sporting a new look lately, was the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Thomas was the 60th and final pick of the same draft class.