After a week-long delay, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics have finally finalized their trade of Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.
Cleveland was seeking additional compensation after Thomas’ physical revealed that his hip injury may keep him sidelined longer than initially expected. However, Boston “would not budge” and add another significant asset to the deal (such as an additional first-round pick or top prospect).
Instead, the Celtics will also send the Cavaliers the rights to the Miami Heat’s second-round draft pick in 2020.
While it may not be a monumental addition, Cleveland reportedly accepted because they wanted the draft rights to the Brooklyn pick they landed in the original framework of the deal.
That’s because the potential lottery pick from the Nets gives them the potential to rebuild even if both LeBron James and Thomas leave as unrestricted free agents after next season.
Earlier today, we learned the over-under that oddsmakers have given for each team in the league. Brooklyn had a worse projection than all but four teams in the NBA, which means their pick could be in the top five next season.
Next season, there are three players (Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr. and Luka Doncic) who are currently in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. However, DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed Bamba are top talents as well. Robert Williams (Texas), Miles Bridges (Michigan State) and Collin Sexton (Alabama) are also prospects who have turned heads around the NBA.
By finalizing this deal, Cleveland will remain a contender because they added an All-Star in Thomas and a great two-way player in Crowder. But perhaps more importantly, they’re also setting themselves up nicely for the future since they’ll either land a top prospect in next year’s draft or flip that Nets pick in another trade (since it remains a very attractive asset).
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