BOSTON – Danny Ainge considered several factors before ultimately deciding that the Boston Celtics were better off trading away Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving.
That hip injury Thomas suffered in the playoffs last season which according to Ainge, might impact when the now ex-Celtic starts the season.
“There’s probably a little bit of delay for Isaiah to start this year,” Ainge said in a conference call with reporters following the trade becoming official Tuesday night.
In addition to Thomas, the Celtics also sent Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to the 2018 first round pick they acquired from Brooklyn, to the Cavs in exchange for Irving.
MORE ON THE KYRIE IRVING BLOCKBUSTER:
- Blakely and Draper break down the 2017-2018 Celtics roster after blockbuster
- Danny Ainge: Isaiah Thomas's hip may cause 'a little bit of delay' at season's start
- Blakely: Celtics pull off another steal in getting Kyrie Irving from Cavs
- Celtics acquire Kyrie Irving from Cavs for Thomas, Crowder, Zizic, Nets pick
- Blakely on Irving trade: This is a great day for the Celtics
Another major factor for the Celtics pulling the trigger on the deal was that it allowed the Celtics to add a younger, more accomplished player in Irving who is, "a 25-year old perennial all-star … one of the best offensive players in the league."
Irving averaged a career-high 25.2 points per game last season while shooting 47.3 percent from the field which was also a career high.
While most agree that Irving is the more talented player, that doesn’t diminish from what Thomas did for the Celtics.
He delivered one big shot after another time and time again, established himself as the best scorer in the East (28.9 points per game) last season.
And when faced with adversity like the death of his baby sister just hours before the start of the playoffs, Thomas fought through the emotional pain and led the Celtics all the way to the conference finals before ultimately the pain in his hip forced him to the sideline for the last three games.
During the call, Ainge said he had already spoken to both players but would not elaborate on any specifics of those conversations.
“Those are private conversations,” Ainge said. “I’m not gonna share my conversation with Isaiah. I can leave it to your imagination how difficult that conversation was for me and Isaiah. And Kyrie was very excited about coming to the Celtics.”
Ainge added, “Everybody fell in love with him; such an underdog with his (5-foot-9) size and his heart. It was challenging making this decision.”