Kyrie Irving says bye to Cleveland after trade to the Celtics. (photo via @cavs Instagram)
This didn’t have to happen. Not like this at least.
After Kyrie Irving asked to be traded earlier in the summer, citing not wanting to be in LeBron James’ shadow any longer, the Cleveland Cavaliers looked for potential trade scenarios.
Irving wanted to be the star somewhere else. He didn’t want to be under the tutelage of James anymore, which was understandable. A titan like James, well, that would be hard for any player to be under.
But now the Cavs have messed up. Whether trading Irving to the Boston Celtics was an attempt to prepare for the possibility of another James departure, this move doesn’t make sense for both teams.
The Celtics got slightly better, and the Cavs slightly worse. But still, neither team is significantly better than the other.
It’s hard to comprehend, and truthfully, it’s going to take some time to digest.
In trading Irving to the Celtics on Tuesday, the Cavs received Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first-round pick.
Seriously, how could this happen?
If you’re a Cavs fan, you wanted Irving to be traded — because he wanted to leave. But for the Cavs to trade him to the team that is close to competing with them is simply mind-blowing.
Thomas doesn’t bring anything different than Kyrie does. He’s a ball-dominant guard, and he’s not a facilitator. Déjà vu, anyone?
Irving is one of the most talented scorers in the league, and Thomas is too. But Irving holds enough moves – and better ones – in his arsenal to be slightly better on offense than Thomas.
So, basically the Celtics have a chance to compete with the Cavs now. It’s sickening, too. The Celtics beat up on the Cavs in the late 2000s. When I was a kid, I would call them “The Cavs Killers.”
Well, that’s because they were.
En route to a championship in 2008, the Celtics defeated the Cavs in the Eastern Conference semifinals in seven games. That series was heartbreaking, especially considering it was the year after the Cavs had went to the Finals, only to be swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
Then the Celtics beat the Cavs again in 2010 and won the Eastern Conference semifinals in six games. That was the kicker, because after that James left for the Miami Heat where he won two titles.
I can still remember the image of James taking off his jersey in the tunnel after the Celtics clinched the series. The Celtics beat my squad, and as a hapless Cleveland sports fan, that was sickening to see.
This trade gives me that same feeling, and now the Celtics have the potential to be great again.
It didn’t have to happen like this.