It has once again been an interesting time in the world of offseason NBA Basketball, as it was reported that Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers most talented scorer, was disappointed with the Cavaliers’ offseason and was looking for a change in scenery.
Yes, the Cavaliers dysfunction is something that I knew could eventually turn off Kyrie Irving and his incredible talents, but I was not expecting to hear that it was LeBron James’ camp that leaked Irving’s displeasure of being in Cleveland. This, of course, is huge news for anyone interested in the services of the shifty playmaker that is Kyrie.
But all this extra attention can’t be helping the return the Cavaliers could get for Irving. For example, take a look at what happened with another displeased star in Paul George. He was essentially traded into a great situation with a fantastic teammate in Russell Westbrook, but the return for him (Sabonis and Victor Oladipo) was anything but impressive. The Pacers took some serious heat for letting an All-NBA Player slip away for close to nothing, and unless Myles Turner has a break-out season there is nothing good about being an Indiana Pacer right now.
Now, Once again, there is a player with immense talent who wants out. Will the Cavaliers play nice and send him to a place that can offer him the opportunity to be his own man? Or will they instead look for the best trade package and move him to a place he might not necessarily want to go? After all, the second LeBron leaves Cleaveland the Cavaliers will once again become a mockery of a sports team, and free agents won’t necessarily jump at the opportunity to watch the playoffs from their couches. So I’m thinking they try to get what they can now, regardless of who the team might be.
Enter Boston (Yet again!) You cannot have a trade scenario without the asset-heavy Celtics, no matter the team.
Anyways, let’s look at some pros and cons of why the Celtics should or shouldn’t trade for Kyrie Irving, even though he didn’t mention the Celtics as one of his preferred destinations.
Pro- He’s a superstar
The Boston Celtics have three stars on their roster, and one of them is a borderline superstar. No, I was not talking about Isaiah Thomas. Their one true borderline superstar is Gordon Hayward, as he is the one who offers the biggest impact on both sides of the ball. However, I will once again talk about my immense love for Isaiah Thomas. He is a guy who reignited the fire that is Celtics Pride, and I can think of no one more deserving of a big contract and championship ring. That being said, can he take over in the finals against the Golden State Warriors? Will he provide some serviceable defense against the league’s top guards in Curry and Klay? Sadly, in my opinion, this is a no. Kyrie Irving is a proven Finals hero that is never afraid of the moment and can contribute in a variety of different ways. Giving him the top dog role alongside guys like Horford and Hayward could only increase his production and impact.
Con- He would cost the Celtics major assets.
This trade is tough for both sides. Cleveland doesn’t want to make the Celtics better. The Celtics don’t want to brighten the Cavaliers future unless they get major winning pieces back in return. A trade for Irving would cost the Celtics a combination of win-now players and assets that the Celtics should be reluctant to give up. I have read everything from Isaiah Thomas and future picks to possibly all the first round picks we have. This is one of the things that make a trade to Beantown about as unlikely a place as any.
Pro- Kyrie helps you win now AND Later.
Kyrie is a 25 year old All-Star who should fit in nicely with this Celtics youth movement if he decides he would be willing to resign here long term. With his skills basely largely on foot speed and numerous combinations of dribble moves, it makes sense that the Celtics would be willing to offer a really good package for him. The following trade at the bottom might be a way to keep some major assets while still snagging what could definitely be the best iso player in the world aside from LeBron James.
With this trade, the Celtics starting lineup consists of Kyrie, Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Aaron Baynes, with the possibility of having Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum in there for small ball situations. That is a team that should be contending now, tomorrow, and for the forseeable future. Losing Isaiah would be a tough blow, and Boston might be heartbroken, but you know what could help ease the pain? Banner 18. If fans are not crazy about that trade, feeling that might be too much to give up, perhaps Isaiah and some combination of picks might get the job done as well. But nothing is guaranteed.
Con- Ball Hog tendencies/Lacking proper point guard distribution tendencies.
Kyrie Irving is a fantastic scorer, and he might be the best offensive player on the roster if he somehow ends up in green for Isaiah Thomas and whatever else would be required. One of the areas he lacks in, however, is distributing the basketball meaningfully. Let’s not kid ourselves, the real playmaker of that team is LeBron James. James is one of the most unique players in the history of the game simply because he is one of the few truly dominant point-forwards in the league. With his vision always finding the right guy, it leaves little for Kyrie to do in that aspect of the game. This means that for the last few years, Irving has been groomed to be a knock-down shooter with an impeccable knack for getting to the rim effortlessly, but with a cost of not having true point guard capabilities when it comes to spreading the basketball. Is that what we are missing? My opinion is no.
Conclusion: Kyrie Irving has some good qualities, but it’s finally time for Danny to sit a trade out.
I say this thinking purely strategically. If I’m the Celtics management, all I do is resign Isaiah Thomas next year for a rich yet manageable contract and watch as our one true problem to get to the finals finally implodes. I suspect LeBron James either bolts for Los Angeles or another team out West (perhaps the Rockets) and leaves the East a mess aside from the Celtics, Raptors and Wizards. Once James is gone, the Celtics time will have finally arrived. And that means numerous years of playoff sweeps and Finals Appearances.