After a whole summer of speculations, rumors, and debates on whether or not Kyrie Irving will leave Cleveland or not, has finally come to a head. The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a future draft pick from the Brooklyn Nets.
This move comes as a huge shift in the Eastern Conference, especially with the majority of its former star players heading west, while teams that missed the playoffs from that conference will earn a chance to make it the postseason come next April. Among the teams that were rumored to go for Irving were the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, and especially the Miami Heat.
With Irving moving on from LeBron and Cleveland, this would allow him to be his own superstar, granted that he shares some of that spotlight with another Celtics acquisition in Gordon Hayward. The trade itself places Boston in the same light as the Cavaliers as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. It should be also noted that the Celtics clashed against the Cavaliers in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals and will also do so again on opening night on October 17th.
“This has obviously been a roller coaster of a day for us, trading away Isaiah and Jae and Ante, especially Isaiah and Jae, who have been such a big part of our team and our success and our Celtic culture as leaders of our team. Very, very difficult day,” Celtics President Danny Ainge said. “At the same time, a very exciting time [to add] one of the best offensive players in the league.”
With two all-star point guards now playing in different locations and playing with all-star small forwards, it would be very interesting to see how Irving and Hayward’s strengths play off each other, while the same goes for Isaiah Thomas with LeBron. The only difference here would be in championship experience, as Irving has been to the Finals three times as a Cavalier, winning a ring back in 2016.
Now that Irving got his wish to escape under the shadow of LeBron, we will have to see if he will be capable of being just as big as a star compared to his former teammate. He will also have to prove, that on his own, he can be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference, if not the league.