Two years ago, the NBA world was caught by surprise when two-star point guards were dealt by their respective teams. After increasing tension in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving demanded a trade from the Cavaliers. Cleveland was forced to trade their star player that offseason, hoping they could avoid drama leading into the start of the next season. Two years later we reflect on the impact that the Kyrie Irving trade left.
The Infamous Kyrie Irving Trade
What They Gave Up
Cleveland – The Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving who was the lone player sent on this end was the centerpiece.
Where are they Now?
Isaiah Thomas was recovering from his hip injury during the time of this trade and didn’t make his debut in a Cleveland uniform until the second half of the 2017-2018 season. He averaged 14.7 points in a Cavaliers uniform. Also, Thomas was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers after only playing 15 games for the Cavaliers. He spent the rest of the 17-18 season with the Lakers and averaged 15.6 points.
Thomas’ time with Cleveland was a mess. He publicly came out and said he returned from his injury too early and wasn’t able to get himself right. He played better with the Lakers but still seemed far removed from his MVP form with the Boston Celtics. Isaiah Thomas is currently an unrestricted free agent.
Crowder was one of the key pieces in return for Irving. His defensive presence on the court and offense makes him an important role player. He averaged 8.6 points as a Cavalier, playing 53 games before being traded to the Utah Jazz.
Crowder was part of Cleveland’s huge fire sale before the trade deadline. After arriving in Utah he greatly improved their defense and helped them secure the fifth seed in the west. Crowder averaged 11.9 points in two seasons with the Jazz. He’s currently under contract for one more year in Utah.
Zizic was drafted by the Celtics in the latter parts of the first round of the NBA draft and was traded before he could even suit up in front of the Boston faithful. In two seasons, he’s averaging 6.4 points a game, shooting 58.3 from the field.
The First Round Pick – Collin Sexton
Collin Sexton was the player the Cavs selected in the 2018 draft with the first round pick they got from Boston. Sexton showed flashed of brilliance in his first season as an NBA player. Averaging 16.7 points on 43 percent shooting and shooting 40 percent from three-point range. With all the injuries to the Cavaliers last season, Sexton had to mature quickly into Cleveland’s primary scorer on occasions. As he moves into his sophomore year, he looks to establish himself as one of the top point guards in the east.
Kyrie Irving’s career in Boston thus far has been very much a roller coaster. He’s had some really great games and helped this team go on stretches of dominance. On the flip side, he’s been the scapegoat to much of the team’s dysfunction this past season.
Irving had his best season percentage wise in his first year with the Celtics. He shot 49.1 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from three. These were both career highs. The star point guard sustained a left knee injury at the end of the 2017-2018 season which caused him to miss the entirety of the playoffs. Regardless, the Celtics managed to reach game seven of the eastern conference finals. Unfortunately, LeBron James was too much of a challenge for the young Celtics players. However, their success raised questions on if Irving was important to the Celtics core.
Last season Boston’s young players looked to build off their success from last season. Success that was predicated without Kyrie Irving in the lineup. Irving tried to assert himself as the leader of the team, however, Boston’s team chemistry was thrown all off. The Celtics lost a disappointing playoff series to the Milwaukee Bucks this season. A series in which they dropped four straight after winning the first game.
However, Irving’s status in Boston remains in limbo. After telling the fans of Boston he planned to resign in the offseason, he later told the media he would do what’s best for himself (in free agency). After becoming the target for much of Bostons problems this year, many believe he will leave Boston for a better situation.
The Verdict of the Trade?
In the end, Cleveland and Boston seemed to have lost out big time in this trade. Boston more than Cleveland however. Kyrie failed to win a championship in his two years with Boston, and each day that passes he seems closer to walking in free agency. In contrast, Isaiah Thomas who was the main piece in return for Irving barely played any games for the Cavaliers before being shipped to Los Angeles.
One key piece in this trade was the divorce of Isaiah Thomas from Danny Ainge, Boston’s GM. Thomas came to Boston after being a journeyman much of his career. He found a home in Boston for two and a half seasons. He helped Boston get back to the postseason and was an MVP candidate in his last season for the Celtics. Thomas felt extremely betrayed after being traded with reason and was very public about how he felt.
Last season when Anthony Davis asked for a trade from the Pelicans he left the Celtics off his list of desired teams. Why? Because of what happened to Isaiah Thomas. In addition, Davis then clearly stated he didn’t wanna be a Celtic because of how the Isaiah Thomas trade was handled. If Kyrie Irving decides to leave, this trade will haunt Danny Ainge for years. The Celtics lost out on Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. The narrative of this offseason could have been a lot different, had management held onto Thomas.
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