When Kyrie Irving was traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics, many thought we were on the path towards seeing Irving square off against his former teammate in LeBron James in the Eastern Conference. While that hasn't been the case due to Irving's injury, it still hasn't stopped people from talking about last summer's trade.
Irving was sent to the Celtics by the Cavs last summer in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round draft pick, and a 2020 second-round draft pick via the Miami Heat. However, both teams have had different seasons following the trade.
While Boston has been flying with Kyrie, Cleveland has had an up and down season and, as a result, they made several deals on trade deadline day earlier this year, resulting in them trading away both Thomas and Crowder. While initially, it looked like the Celtics have given up too much, the season has shown the Cavs are the team that suffered the most.
Analysis of this trade has now reached a point where, according to reports, a Cavaliers player has called Celtics' general manager Danny Ainge a 'thief' for making the trade happen. Ainge defended himself in a recent interview with Boston.com.
The Celtics general manager said about the trade: “I thought it was a fair trade at the time.
"Both key players in Isaiah and Kyrie aren’t playing in this series, which is interesting, but we liked the trade for us then and we like it now. Hopefully it works out for both teams.”
Ainge started off by saying it's still too early to call the winner of the trade because it's unclear what kind of player the Cavaliers will be able to acquire with the Nets' first-round draft pick in this year's draft, which will be the eighth overall selection.
He said: “First of all, time will tell. But that pick that we gave them had the chance to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. It turned out to be No. 8, but who knows? They may get a really good player with the eighth pick in this year’s draft. There are some very good players at the top of the draft.
Ainge also added that it was the Cavs decision to trade away Thomas and Crowder for other pieces, saying at the time of the trade last summer, the Celtics were giving up a lot to acquire the 26-year-old point guard.
“They turned Isaiah and Jae Crowder into other pieces, Clarkson and Hood and so forth. Time will tell on all these trades, but at the time, we were criticized for giving up too much. And we gave up a lot. We liked Jae Crowder and we liked Isaiah Thomas. And we liked that Brooklyn pick.”
Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Celtics and the Cavaliers takes place this Saturday. Whoever ends up winning this season will likely be crowned as the winner of the Irving trade for now. Boston currently leads the series 2-0.
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