The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers sent shockwaves through the NBA community on Tuesday evening, agreeing to a blockbuster trade that included two of the league’s top offensive players.
Boston sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the 2018 first-round pick of the Brooklyn Nets to Cleveland in exchange for Kyrie Irving. After weeks of wondering where he’d end up if he was traded following his shocking request, the Cavaliers worked with their Eastern Conference Finals foe to make a deal work.
Shortly after the trade was finalized, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge released a statement and his excitement was obvious.
“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 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.”
Last season, Irving averaged 25.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists during 72 regular-season games for the Cavs before posting 25.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists during his team’s playoff run. As a member of the “Big Three” in Cleveland alongside LeBron James and Kevin Love, Irving helped lead the franchise to three-straight NBA Finals appearances as well as an NBA title in 2016.
Based on his career averages of 21.6 points, 3.4 assists and 5.6 assists, it’s easy to claim that the 25-year-old point guard is well on his way to being considered a Hall of Fame-level talent.
Celtics co-owner and governing partner Wyc Grousbeck released a statement about Thomas and Crowder, who were a large part of the Celtics over the past couple of seasons.
“Isaiah and Jae have been a huge part of our success,” said Grousbeck. “Isaiah’s playoff performance under very difficult circumstances will live on in history, and we wish them all the best.”
Ange echoed those sentiments.
“Isaiah embodied what it meant to be a Celtic. He captured fans’ hearts not only with his spirit, but his personality,” explained Ainge. “Jae’s toughness was contagious 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.”
Thomas was the face of the Celtics last season and the entire city rallied behind him after the tragic death of his younger sister right before the playoffs began.
"Isaiah had just an amazing season this year," Ainge told reporters. "He entertained the whole city of Boston. Everybody fell in love with him. He's such an underdog because of his size and his heart and the spirit with which he plays. It was very challenging to make this decision."
While it was hard for the Celtics to let Thomas and Crowder go, the front office seems to be thrilled that they were able to land a talent like Irving in return.News Now - Sport News