The NBA offseason was full of all-star players moving to new teams and forming new duos and super-teams. One of the most anticipated trades of the off-season was Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers getting traded to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jay Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Boston’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft. Irving and Thomas will be replacing each-other as starting point guard for their new teams and Crowder will likely take starting power forward on the Cavaliers. This franchise-altering deal left many wondering who got the better end of the trade?
The answer? It’s debatable: the Celtics got the more skilled point guard, Kyrie Irving, but the Cavaliers acquired more players.
An issue came up shortly after the deal when Isaiah Thomas failed the physical assessment due to a hip injury from last season. His injury occurred when Karl Anthony-Town landed on him during a game, causing him to miss several games. Thomas is expected to miss many more games in the first half of the upcoming season. The Cavaliers were aware of the injury before the trade and according to SBNation were able to use that in bargaining with the Celtics, adding Boston’s 2020 second round pick to the trade.
The Celtics have been moving many players around during this offseason, adding superstars Irving, Hayward, and 3rd-overall rookie Jayson Tatum to their starting 5, trading out Thomas, Crowder, Bradley, Olynyk and Amir Johnson. As a result, the Celtic’s starting lineup is completely different from last season, affecting the team chemistry, but they added much more skill to their lineup. Acquiring Kyrie Irving has made the team even more of a threat in the NBA. He is one of the league’s elite point guards and he is expected to bring his team to a new level. So far, it seems to be working. The Celtics are #1 in the Eastern Conference with a 4-0 record.
The Cavaliers have been in the NBA finals the last three years straight-all three against the Golden State Warriors-and Kyrie Irving played a key role in getting them there each year. Now, with Irving traded for Thomas, the pressure will be on Thomas to help get the Cavaliers in the same position they were in the last few seasons. But so far this season we haven’t seen what Isaiah can do on the Cavs roster due to his hip injury. Backup point guard Derrick Rose will be starting each game until Thomas recovers. The signing of Thomas wasn’t the only transaction that happened over the offseason, they also signed Dwyane Wade to be their starting shooting guard. So far the Cavs are 1-4 in the 2017-18 season.
The off-season was packed with trades of elite players as a result of the mass numbers of free agents. This new season will test these high-quality player’s ability to adapt to new teams and potentially win a title. There are many stacked teams in the league this year and they are all going head-to-head to try to clinch playoff spots. With the preseason just ending, the race to the NBA finals begins.