Celtics score deal for Kyrie Irving


Guard Kyrie Irving dribbles the ball against Isaiah Thomas during the 2017 eastern conference finals. The Cavaliers won the series 4-1. 

By Eddie Garcia

The Boston Celtics finalized a trade Sunday with the Cleveland Cavaliers to swap guards Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, according to ESPN analyst Adrian Wajnarowski.

It has been a little over a month since the sports world was shocked with the news that Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade out of Cleveland, the team that drafted him first overall in the 2012 NBA draft.

This trade has been an interesting story. It was reported that Irving was traded to the Celtics in exchange for Thomas, a 2018 first round draft pick, a 2020 second round pick, forward Jae Crowder and center Ante Zizic. The Celtics made the right move.

This was exactly the move Boston needed to make as they finally have the superstar player to take them over the top. Irving is exactly the type of player the Celtics need, a proven playoff performer and a winner.

Irving described his challenges with playing alongside LeBron James in the 2017 NBA finals, saying he felt like he had to take a step back with LeBron on the team, something he hadn’t been used to in prior years.

“Finding that balance is one of the toughest things to do because you have so much belief and confidence in yourself,” said Irving, according to July 24 ESPN article. “Selfishly, I always wanted to just show everyone in the whole entire world exactly who I was every single time.”

Irving will definitely be able to be the player he wants now. In 52 career playoff games, Irving has averaged 23.9 points, 4.7 assists and 3.21 rebounds, according to ESPN. The Celtics now have a player to give the ball to late in games.

Although the Celtics won the trade, the Cavaliers will receive Thomas in return, a player who made his first all star team a year ago and is on the rise.

This sets up well for the summer of 2018 where the future of Lebron James with the team is unknown, as he is an unrestricted free agent. The Cavaliers received good complimentary players in return for Irving.

As one can imagine, it was an extremely difficult task for Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to find the right trade to replace a player in Irving who is coming off a career year. Irving averaged a career best 25.2 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the field in 2017, according to basketball reference. Irving has, arguably, earned his spot as one of the top guards in the league.

Nevertheless, Gilbert found a deal, one that involves Thomas, who is coming off a career year himself. Thomas led the Celtics with 28.9 points per game, while shooting a career best 46.3 percent from the field, according to basketball reference.

The Celtics also won the trade because of Thomas’ hip injury in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The Cavaliers put the brief hault on the trade because they were unaware of the severity of Thomas’ injury.

However, ESPN analyst Wojnarowski reported Sunday that the Celtics were forced to throw in the 2020 second round pick to compensate the Thomas injury, according to a Aug. 30 Bleacher Report article.

So after the back-and-forth trade battle, the deal is finally done. The Celtics won the trade and have a dynamic, scoring point guard who should have a big impact in the playoffs. Irving joins recently-signed forward Gordon Hayward, who the Celtics signed June 14 in free agency.

After taking a step back for a few seasons with James, it is now time for Irving to do what he does best and that’s playing basketball his way, with the Celtics on his back.

Editors note: The terms of the deal have been finalized since the story went into print. The story above has been changed to reflect the most accurate and up-to-date information.