Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Kyrie Irving Traded To Boston for Isaiah Thomas

Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers,


Earlier Kyrie Irving put out his desire to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, and on Tuesday he got his wish. He was traded to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round pick.

“Kyrie is one of the best scorers in the NBA. He has proven that on the biggest stage, the NBA Finals, the last three years,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “He’s been an NBA Champion, an Olympic Gold Medalist, and a four-time All-Star. For all he’s accomplished, we think his best years are ahead of him.”

“Isaiah and Jae have been a huge part of our success,” said Celtics Co-Owner and Governing Partner Wyc Grousbeck. “Isaiah’s playoff performance under very difficult circumstances will live on in history, and we wish them all the best.”

Selected by Cleveland with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Irving, 25, has posted career averages of 21.6 points (45.7% FG, 38.3% 3-PT, 87.3% FT), 3.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.32 steals and 34.2 minutes in 381 games (all starts) throughout six seasons with the Cavaliers. The 6-3 guard has registered a scoring average north of 20.0 points in four of his six NBA seasons, including a career-high 25.2 points in 2016-17.

Irving played a vital role in helping Cleveland capture its first NBA title in 2016, averaging 25.2 points on 47.5% shooting (44.0% 3-PT), and 4.7 assists during the Cavaliers 21-game playoff run to history. He scored a postseason-high 41 points on 17-of-24 shooting (5-7 3-PT) in a win against the Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals that season, one of 18 games in which the Duke product logged at least 20 points. In three career postseason appearances, all of which resulted in trips to the NBA Finals, Irving has averaged 23.9 points (46.5% FG, 41.5% 3-PT, 87.6% FT), 3.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.46 steals and 36.4 minutes in 52 games.

In parts of three seasons with the Celtics, Thomas averaged 24.7 points (44.3% FG, 36.8% 3-PT, 88.9% FT), 2.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Crowder produced 12.8 points (44.4% FG, 35.3% 3-PT, 80.4% FT), 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in parts of three seasons in Boston.

“Isaiah embodied what it meant to be a Celtic. He captured fans’ hearts not only with his spirit, but his personality,” said Ainge. “Jae’s toughness was contaigious for our team. He improved his skills each year, but it’s his energy and fight that will be remembered. We wish them and their families the very best.”

This is no surprise at all since the Celtics were, by far, the team that could offer the best deal for Irving, an All-Star point guard who is likely the best at-the-rim finisher in the NBA.

The deal not only gets them Irving, but means they don’t have to worry about giving a long-term, lucrative deal to Thomas, who may have already had the best season of his career and who seems to have a bad hip. With Kyrie in green, Thomas had to be included in the deal, as he would not have accepted a role backing up Kyrie. Even though Thomas hit all the necessary plot points this summer to gain the favor of Boston fans everywhere, trading him was a no-brainer when it meant that Boston would get Irving, who will now slot in alongside Gordon Hayward and Al Horford—creating a very competent big three—glue guys Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris, and young guns Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

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