The Boston Celtics have been busy this offseason, signing free agent forward Gordon Hayward away from the Utah Jazz and completing a mega-trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers for star point guard Kyrie Irving.
In order to land Irving, the Celtics had to give up Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, a 2018 first-round draft pick and a 2020 second-round pick.
Now, Boston has a pair of new stars to team up with center Al Horford, but not everyone is convinced that the moves will pay off in the win column.
Count former Cleveland general manager David Griffin among those who think the Celtics may struggle this year. He said on Thursday's episode of "The Jump" that he thinks Boston will be better in the long term, but not necessarily in the short term:
"I do think that he's correct in the fact that Boston in the short term may not actually be better and I don't think it's just the function of this one trade," Griffin said on Thursday's edition of ESPN's The Jump. "I think it's the function of an offseason in which they also moved Avery Bradley. Losing Bradley, Crowder and Isaiah is losing a lot of grit and overachievers that identified that team. So they've had so much change.
"I think they're going to be better in the long term, but I think in the short term you can make the argument that they're going to be worse."
Obviously, the Celtics will need to find a new system that fits Hayward and Irving, but coach Brad Stevens has proven he's one of the best coaches in the league.
In his Players' Tribune article about the trade, Thomas said he understands why he was traded, but sided with Griffin, saying he doesn't think the Celtics are better than they were before the Irving trade:
"It’s not that I don’t understand it. Of course I get it: This is a business. Danny is a businessman, and he made a business move," Thomas wrote. "I don’t agree with it, just personally, and I don’t think the Boston Celtics got better by making this trade. But that’s not my job. That’s Danny’s. And it’s a tough job, and he’s been really good at it."
Only time will tell if Boston GM Danny Ainge is right or if Griffin and Thomas will be proven correct. One thing is for sure, though - this year's matchups between the Celtics and Cavaliers will be must-see television.