The Boston Celtics pulled off the shock trade of the summer after giving up All-Star Isaiah Thomas and acquiring Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers this week.
Bringing in an NBA champion entering the prime of his career at the age of 25 is a move of real intent by the Celtics as Irving is without doubt one of the most gifted players in the league.
Deciding to make a move for the silky ball handler was an easy one for the franchise, but cutting ties with Thomas certainly wasn't.
The 5'9" point guard helped to get Boston back in contention for winning championships and played a huge role in the team's run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
In his two and a half years in Beantown, IT blossomed and became a two-time All-Star and made it onto the All-NBA Second Team.
Despite coming off the bench for most of his career at both the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns, Thomas turned into a starter and a bona fide star in Boston and his rise helped the team compete at a high level again.
Now, the 28-year-old will be beginning the next chapter of his career in Cleveland, but his efforts in the green uniform are certainly appreciated, particularly by his former coach.
Brad Stevens and Isaiah struck up an excellent bond and he had some classy words to say about the departing star and how he felt about the trade.
"What [Thomas] did in Boston the last two and a half years has been incredible," he said, per ESPN. "I said earlier what he's meant to me, what I think of him, how great he's been in the locker room, what kind of teammate he's been.
"Those are all really, really, really hard decisions. That's the hard part about being a professional basketball coach."
Along with Thomas, the C's included Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected 2018 first-round pick in the deal.
The franchise also traded Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons and chose not to re-sign Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson.
That means the Boston roster will only feature four players from last season; Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier.
Stevens says the decision to overhaul the team is the price you have to pay to obtain a superstar like Irving.
"You get a chance in this league to coach such great players; it's an honour to do that," Stevens said. "Obviously, to have a guy like Kyrie that's going to join us, it's a great opportunity for our organisation.
"Whenever you're able to obtain a guy like that, there's inherently major costs involved and those costs are both production on the basketball court but, more importantly to me, the emotional part of it, right?
"I guess the hard part about these deals when you're pursuing some of the best players in the league is that it comes at an emotional and [on-court] cost to your team. Those are really hard things. It's been a balance for me."News Now - Sport News