The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics engaged in the biggest trade of the NBA offseason this week when the Cavs sent point guard Kyrie Irving to the Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, the Nets’ unprotected first round pick and other players. The move sent shockwaves across the Eastern Conference as both the Cavs and Celtics were the top two finishers in the East. How this trade will affect the balance of power in the East remains to be seen. Given how competitive the two teams are, one can only imagine that this trade will result in one team reaching the NBA Finals while the other is sent home. This will surely cause a lot of heavy NBA betting at an online sportsbook.
The whole ordeal started earlier this summer when rumors swirled that Kyrie Irving had requested a trade from Cleveland due to his inability to get along with LeBron James. This sparked a number of debates over where the former #1 overall draft pick should ultimately go. Rumors were swirling that Kyrie would end up in New York, Minnesota, or San Antonio. At that time, nobody really thought that Boston was an option given how closely contested the Eastern Conference is between the Cavs and Celtics. However, Danny Ainge ultimately got his man, landing Irving for an impressive package of players.
Some will wonder which team won this trade and which team lost. Honestly, it’s too early to tell only a matter of hours after the trade. Truth be told, we won’t know who the real winner is until one of these two teams is heading back to the Finals while the other is sent home. However, this trade is interesting in that it makes sense for both teams. On one hand, you have the Cavaliers who were forced to deal a disgruntled star with the shadow of LeBron’s looming free-agency and likely departure on the horizon. By landing Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs have effectively created a band-aid for the 2017-18 season to replace Kyrie’s production, while not commiting any long-term money into a potential post-LeBron rebuild since Thomas’ contract expires after this season. In addition, they set themselves up nicely for a post-LeBron scenario by acquiring the Nets’ unprotected pick, which could be as high as #1 overall. All in all, it was a pretty nice haul that should give the Cavaliers some flexibility moving forward whether LeBron opts to stay or head off to another team.
On the flip side, the Celtics avoided having to pay Isaiah Thomas a max deal after this season. Thomas is 29 years old and has had some injury issues. In all likelihood, a max contract for Thomas would have left the Celtics holding a fairly big bag at some point down the road. Kyrie has two years left on his current deal and is only 25. If Boston can resign him to a max contract after this year, they will have secured one of the league’s top point guards throughout his prime. Again, not a bad deal for Boston given their situation.