One of the biggest moves of this past NBA offseason was that of Kyrie Irving's trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics, and it has completely transformed how the Eastern Conference looks entering the 2017-18 season.
The Cavaliers have added good depth to their squad this offseason despite Irving being traded to their Eastern Conference rivals, with the additions of Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder through the trade, and Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade through free agency.
All these new names were added in hope of pushing the team over the line for another NBA Championship win after only winning one title during the second LeBron era despite making the Finals three times in the past three seasons.
Arguably, the Cavaliers are stronger now than the team which won the NBA title back in the 2015-16 season, when Kyrie was still with the team and a major part of it. At least that's what a certain Cleveland star that was part of both squads seems to think.
J.R. Smith recently commented on the post-Kyrie era at the Cavaliers to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, saying he believes the roster this year has the most depth he's ever seen and that the team should perform better because of it.
Smith said: "I expect us to be better than last year ... this is the most deep we’ve ever been since I’ve been here"
Is this a subtle shot at Irving because the team is better now he has gone? Perhaps. Although they did have to trade him away to get Thomas in return, who might not even play until 2018, so we might not actually see the full extent of this improvement until late into the season.
The team certainly does have a better chance of improving on their performance from last season thanks to having multiple All-Stars on their roster and bench talent with playoff-experience, but now they have to live up to that expectation.
At the end of the day, it's still an exciting time to be a Cavaliers fan, but one has to wonder how long these good times will last before the team is split up once more.