BOSTON -- The real fireworks came a little late this summer for the Boston Celtics as they pulled off a blockbuster deal Tuesday night for Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics sent two-time All-Star Isaiah Thomas to the Cavs, along with Jae Crowder, rookie Ante Zizic and the 2018 Brooklyn first-round pick.
Boston now has a core group of Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford that will help them sustain their place among the top teams in the East.
Meanwhile, the Cavs add a two-time all-star in Thomas, one of the more versatile defenders in Crowder and a promising big man in Zizic.
MORE ON THE KYRIE IRVING BLOCKBUSTER:
- Blakely on Irving trade: This is a great day for the Celtics
- Cedric Maxwell: I love Isaiah, but Irving is better player
- Draper: Kyrie Irving has not even hit his prime yet
In addition to the players, the Cavs will also save about $19 million.CC
But this deal was all about adding a difference-maker for a Celtics franchise that has shown growth in recent years, but still seemed a star player away from taking that last step towards being elite.
Irving’s arrival changes that instantly.
The 25-year-old is arguably the best ball-handling guard in the NBA who has already been named to four All-Star teams, an All-Star game MVP in addition to having already won an Olympic gold medal along with an assortment of other basketball honors.
Last season, he averaged a career-high 25.3 points per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the field which was also a career-best for the former rookie of the year (2012).
For Boston, the move does more than just add a talented player to the mix.
It will afford the team’s promising young players, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown specifically, a chance to play a more prominent role this season.
In addition, Boston’s roster now stands at 14 players (one below the league maximum) which gives them some added flexibility going into training camp.