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Why The Cavaliers Won the Blockbuster Trade

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As we all probably know by now, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics made a blockbuster trade yesterday evening that shook the basketball world. The trade that swapped Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving is the first trade in the history of the NBA where two 25 ppg scorers from the previous year were traded for each other. Along with Thomas, the Cavaliers also received Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets 2018 first round pick. Many are split on who won this trade, but I am going to explain why the Cavaliers fleeced the Celtics.

Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas are ultimately the same players. I’m not saying they are the same talent, but the way they play is very similar. Both players scored over 25 ppg and assisted for just under 6 APG. Both are elite scoring talents, and while neither is a pass first point guard, they are both very capable passer. However, I do think that Isaiah Thomas will mesh with Lebron much better than Kyrie ever did. Thomas is an elite scorer but think of him on offense off the ball with Lebron, JR Smith, and Kevin Love around him. In Boston he was the only real scoring threat on the team and teams could focus on him. In Cleveland, teams will not have that luxury, and Thomas will have much more room to operate. Yes, Kyrie will now be the number one guy, but what says that he will be any better without a superstar by his side? I believe there is a great possibility that Kyrie will not live up to the expectations. That is just an assumption, but I would rather have the guarantee than the expectation.

The Cavaliers also received Jae Crowder who is a tenacious defender that will only improve the Cavaliers lackluster defense. By getting Crowder, the Cavaliers can now put him on any scoring threat the Cavaliers have to face: Durant, Leonard, Irving, Hayward, Harden, Giannis. You can put Crowder on any of these guys and feel good about it. This also frees up Lebron to guard another player and save energy throughout the game for offense and the fourth quarter. And while Crowder is with the Cavaliers he is not with Boston. Boston has now lost two of their top three defenders in this off-season and is now left with Marcus Smart as their only proven defensive threat. To win a title in today’s NBA you need multiple defenders because every top team has multiple elite scorers on their roster.

Cleveland not only got Thomas and Crowder to bolster their championship push for this year but they also received Ante Zizic and a high 2018 first round pick to prepare for the future. Zizic was drafted 23rd overall in the 2016 draft by the Celtics out of Croatia. Zizic is a 6’11” center who is not afraid to play tough, physical defense down low. This style of play is what the Cavaliers need down low to match Tristan Thompson’s aggressiveness on the boards. Zizic might not contribute right away for Cleveland, but come playoffs he could end up being a huge X-factor for a team poised for a deep run. And to look beyond this year, Zizic could be a player that the Cavaliers build around, especially if Lebron James does decide to leave in free agency. And that exact reason is why the Cavaliers wanted a high draft pick. Irving still has three years left on his deal so the Cavaliers lost a huge building block and could possibly lose the best player in the NBA after this year. With that in mind, the Cavaliers needed to add another player that can help them in the future. It is not looking like it will be the first overall pick like last year, but could very easily be a top 10 player.

With all of this being positive for the Cavaliers, the Celtics do not have many positives coming from this trade. The biggest thing for the Celtics is that they got a superstar point guard that is just entering his prime and they will have him for three years. For a team entering the top tier of teams in the league, this is huge. And not to mention you got the second best player on the team that is your biggest threat. All of this is wonderful for the Celtics, but there is no guarantee Kyrie stays for his last year on this contract or even resigns after the third year. And you cannot forget that you still have to beat Lebron four times to even get a shot at the title.

The Celtics got their fourth option of free agency after passing on Paul George and Jimmy Butler. They could have got both of these players at a discount because of their contracts, yet Danny Ainge decided to pay high to their biggest threat when the Cavaliers had no leverage. They also lost their heart and soul and one of their top 3 defenders in this trade alone. With all the moves they made this off-season the Celtics now only have four players remaining from their roster last season. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers added many assets and lost just one key player from their roster last year. Lebron can gain instant chemistry with any players on his team and the Celtics have to learn to play with a whole new set of key players in Irving, Hayward, and Tatum.

After breaking down each part of this trade and how each team looks after it, I think it is clear that the talent the Cavaliers received for this year’s push as well as gaining talent for the future years puts them way ahead of the Celtics, a team that is still in search of a discernible team direction. I predict Cavaliers over the Celtics in 5 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Book it.

With that said, see why we also think the Boston Celtics potentially won the trade.

About Aaron Morse

UW-La Crosse Class of 2019 | Majoring in Sports Journalism. Minoring in Sports Broadcasting and Coaching | You can follow me on Twitter @FlyinHawaiian36

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