The NBA is in an incredibly volatile state right now. With the Golden State Warriors being the impossible juggernaut that they are, teams are scrambling to catch up to them. The Houston Rockets acquiring Chris Paul was a step in the right direction, but the rest of the NBA was waiting on what LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would do.
Well, after turmoil in Cleveland, botching the GM debacle, Kyrie Irving wanting out, and the threat of a LeBron James departure looming, it looked as if all hope was lost. James was for sure gone, Irving in New York, and Cleveland in shambles again. But, the basketball gods smiled and the skies opened up for all parties.
Kyrie Irving Trade: Who Got the Better Deal?
The question now looms, who got the better end of the bargain? While the Celtics got Kyrie Irving, the best iso-scorer in the league, and one of the best ball handlers, they gave up a BUNCH of assets to get him. While, the Celtics had “major concerns” about Isaiah Thomas’ hip injury suffered at the end of the season, he was still in talks for the MVP. Irving has been a thorn in the side of Cleveland’s front office all off season, not talking to teammates, the leak about him wanting out (which was true), and potentially telling free agents to avoid coming to Cleveland, have all been drama surrounding the team that has been to the Finals the last three years.
Pressure Still Remains in Cleveland
While the Cavs add a bunch of assets, the real impact of this trade will be at the end of the season. The two main questions will be “Are the Cavaliers any closer to the Warriors?” and “Will LeBron James return to Cleveland?”
That second question is more pressing. The quest to keep the world’s best player on your team will drive them to do some drastic moves. While Kyrie Irving is an incredible scorer and defensive player, adding Isaiah Thomas, a worse defender who has potential to be one of the best, and an even better scorer creates some explosive options for the Cavaliers. The gameplan becomes, as the Houston Rockets have started trying, is not to stop the Warriors incredible offense, but to keep up with them. This move, which also adds much needed role players to Cleveland, seems to on paper.
LeBron James is known to get the best out of his teammates. It’s scary to see what James will push Thomas to become, offensively and defensively. And if Isaiah Thomas brings a feeling of unity to the Cavaliers once again, LeBron James is more like to stay to his home team, which I’m willing to wager that he doesn’t WANT to leave but will if things don’t improve.
So, to answer the first question as to who got the better end of this deal, on paper it’s Cleveland IF (big if) it secures LeBron James to stay in Cleveland for another contract.
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