Talk about the highs and lows of business huh.
The Boston Celtics finsihed as the number one team in the East last season before getting obliterated in the Conference Finals by Cleveland. While they did have a solid team, management knew they weren’t good enough to compete with the Cavs. On top of that, Boston’s star player (Isaiah Thomas) was dealing with a hip injury that doctors feared could be worse than many expected. Other than having the number one draft pick (along with about 50 trillion more in the next four season), Boston didn’t have much optimism in closing the gap between them and Cleveland anytime soon.
Then the seas parted and a beam of light reigned down when Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers. That sent the NBA rushing to their phones trying to conjure up the best deal for one of the NBA’s greatest finishers. Out of every team, Boston had the most to offer by far. Draft picks, solid players, and cap space made it almost a done deal for the Celtics.
But here comes the lows of the business that is the NBA.
Isaiah Thomas was a local favorite in Boston. He had by far the best season of his career and one of the greatest individual season in Celtic history. Thomas averaged 28.9 points a game (which was third best in the league) and nearly 10 points in the fourth quarter, which was highest in the NBA. Thomas was Boston and that was front and center when just a day before their playoff battle with Washington, Thomas’s sister tragically lost her life in a car accident. At his lowest point, the Celtic fans embraced their Allstar with love and compassion.
After everything that Thomas did for Boston, the Celtics shipped him, along with fan favorite Jae Crowder, Croatian prospect Ante Zizic, and two draft picks (one being the potential 1st overall pick in next years draft), for Irving. While Irving is a clear upgrade from Thomas, nothing will equate to what Thomas meant to the city.
The acquisitions did not end with Irving. Boston traded the first overall pick to move to number three (along with getting a couple more draft picks) to draft Duke star Jayson Tatum. The team then landed star forward Gordon Hayward and Marcus Morris in free agency to bolster the roster. Giving up Thomas, Crowder, and defensive star Avery Bradley was huge but the return was greater.
Do not be surprised if Boston makes another huge move around the trade deadline to steal a solid big man to complete the roster (I’m looking at you DeMarcus Cousins).
While Cleveland still have “The King”, Boston has the piece in place to not only challenge LeBron James, but could possibly prevent him from going to his eight straight final (!)