The Boston Celtics have traded Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving, The Vertical’s Shams Charania reports.
The Celtics complete their third significant trade of the offseason, after trading the first pick in this year’s draft to Philadelphia for the third pick in the draft and the Los Angeles Lakers’ protected 2018 pick, before trading longtime starting guard Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris. In an offseason filled with blockbuster trades, the Celtics have made a significant investment to acquire one of the best young guards in the NBA.
The trade comes a month after Irving’s trade request was leaked, resulting in one of the most surprising exits in recent memory. Irving asked out of the perennial favorite in the Eastern Conference as LeBron James’ sidekick to find a more stable franchise where he could be the featured star.
Irving will find that stability in Boston, where Danny Ainge has run the front office for over a decade and Brad Stevens has established one of the most widely respected coaching programs in the league.
In Irving, the Celtics extend the cost certainty of their star guard for another year while maintaining comparable elite production.
They no longer have to decide if a recovering Isaiah Thomas is worth maxing out, as Irving is a no-brainer and has another contract before he reaches the age Thomas will hit in free agency. But the Celtics have paid a surprisingly steep price to acquire Irving, including the prized Nets pick projected to go high in an incredibly promising draft next year and prized center prospect Ante Zizic.
They also part ways with Jae Crowder, a crucial core piece to the Celtics for years who was necessary for salary matching. But with Morris in the fold and Jaylen Brown slated to take a big leap in year two, Crowder’s absence is acceptable. The Celtics will likely start Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and one of Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris.