Five reasons why Celtics-Cavs trade will eventually get done
BOSTON – Boston put forth what it felt was its best offer for Kyrie Irving. The Cleveland Cavaliers agreed, only to have what can only be called after-the-fact trepidation following Isaiah Thomas’ physical, which revealed his hip isn’t quite ready for prime-time play right now – something the Celtics told them prior to the trade being consummated.
Regardless of the reasons the trade still isn't done, which has left many fans and league executives scratching their heads.
“The whole point of giving Cleveland the Brooklyn pick, was to sweeten the deal knowing that IT wasn’t going to ready to start the season,” one league executive told CSNNE.com. “The only thing I can think of was that [the Cavs] saw something in their physical with Thomas, that they didn’t know about.”
Another league executive texted: “it’s a negotiating ploy. I get it. Still . . . I know Danny [Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations] is [upset] that they agreed to the deal knowing Isaiah still had some hip issues, and now they want more added to the deal because he has hip issues.”
While there is indeed some uncertainty how the deal will ultimately shake out, there are far more factors weighing in the deal being completed than it being blown up.
With all that said, here are five reasons why this trade will eventually get done.
TOO MUCH TO LOSE FOR BOTH TEAMS
This is a deal that neither teams can afford to let fall apart. The emotional scars run too deep for the Celtics to bring bacl Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, a pair of fan favorites who have each endured their share of hardships but managed to push them to the side and still play at a high level. And while the Celts certainly deserve credit for landing Al Horford and Gordon Hayward in free agency, there’s no question that Thomas’ recruiting skills played a role in those players coming to Boston. In Cleveland, it’s even more imperative that they move on from Irving, who made it clear last month that he wants out of town. Reports came out indicating Irving doesn't want to be the sidekick of LeBron James anymore. Guess what? LeBron James isn’t going anywhere (this year at least), so the Cavs have no choice but to send Irving elsewhere. Because the idea of him being back in a Cavs uniform to start the season is a bad idea for all involved.
CAVS WON’T GET A BETTER OFFER
The Cavs didn’t want to do a deal with Boston for obvious reasons: The Celtics are one of the top challengers to knock them off their perch as the best in the East. But after talks with several teams in the Western Conference, as well as some in the East, no one put forth a deal that the Cavs felt was adequate. Boston was the only team that could offer talent that could help now (Thomas and Crowder) and in the near future (Ante Zizic), as well as a quality, non-player asset (Brooklyn’s 2018 unprotected first-round pick, which will likely be a top-5 selection). Even with a less-than-healthy Thomas to start the season, the Cavs will be hard-pressed to find another team capable, let alone willing, of putting forth a comparable package.
CELTICS WON’T GET (YOUNG) TALENT THIS GOOD
Kyrie Irving is a 25-year-old who has already been an All-Star four times. Throw in an Olympic gold medal, a Rookie of the Year award and an NBA title, and it’s pretty clear this guy is a next-level talent whose best years are ahead of him . . . which is kind of scary for the rest of the NBA. The possibility of adding a dynamic young player like Irving to a roster that already includes a pair of All-Stars in Al Horford and Gordon Hayward makes walking away from the deal a difficult pill to swallow for the Celtics to swallow.
SOLIDIFIES BOTH AS THE TOP TEAMS IN THE EAST
If this deal falls apart, Boston and Cleveland will open the door for teams like Washington, Milwaukee and Toronto to play their way into being a top-2 team in the East. The Celtics would have to take back Thomas, who may not be available at the start of the year. And Cleveland would still look to trade Irving even though the return won’t be as bountiful, which means they would likely take a step back talent-wise, in the deal. However, the deal going through would strengthen both team’s position in the East. Boston would add a dynamic player to the mix while the Cavs become a deeper team even if Thomas isn’t available at the start. Because, as we’ve seen, Cleveland is all about the playoffs . . . and Thomas should be back in plenty of time for that.
BEST SHOT AT LEBRON STICKING AROUND
LeBron James can hit the free-agent market next summer, so the team the Cavaliers assemble this year will have to do well if they are to have a legitimate shot at convincing him to stay. Adding Thomas, a two-time All-Star, will help if he’s able to regain the form he displayed most of this past season prior to suffering the hip injury. And the addition of Jae Crowder would provide Cleveland with a versatile, do-it-all defender who could prove valuable off the bench. And while that helps Cleveland stay elite in the present, the first-round draft choice has the potential to be the top overall pick, which would help keep the championship window open in the future.