The NBA world was buzzing on Tuesday over a blockbuster trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics that saw Kyrie Irving head to the Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a 2018 first round pick via the Brooklyn Nets.
Irving shocked many when he requested a trade from the Cavs, who have powered their way to the past three NBA Finals with the trio of Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love.
Despite the team’s success, Irving was determined to step out from behind James’ enormous shadow and figures to get a chance to do just that with the Celtics, who have plenty of talent but not a mega-watt star like James. The shockwaves quickly spread around the league as players and media pundits alike reacted to the news. The Los Angeles Lakers had a number of players react to the trade via Twitter:
— Larry Nance Jr (@Larrydn22) August 22, 2017
— Tyler Ennis (@TylerEnnis) August 22, 2017
NBA is the most entertaining, dope, lit league in the world
— Jordan Clarkson (@JordanClarksons) August 23, 2017
— Josh Hart (@joshhart) August 22, 2017
Superstar trades are relatively rare, but this summer the NBA has seen Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Isaiah Thomas, and Kyrie Irving all shipped to new locations, with the Lakers one of the teams that was said to be interested in George.
The Irving trade was particularly surprising because it featured the two top teams in the Eastern Conference exchanging star point guards in addition to a handful of other assets. For the Celtics to get to the NBA Finals they almost certainly have to go through Cleveland, and vice versa, which means that both teams have to hope that they have improved their own squad without strengthening their rival.
The Celtics got their star, but for the Cavaliers, the deal was about as good as they could have hoped for. In Thomas, they found a guard who is near Irving’s level when he is at his best, and Crowder’s versatile defense will come in handy.
Should LeBron James decide to leave Cleveland as a free agent next summer, the Cavs can shift into a rebuild mode quickly with Thomas’ contract also expiring and what’s sure to be a valuable Nets pick in hand.