Following a great deal of uncertainty and speculation, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics have reached an agreement that will finalize the deal that involves the exchange of All-Star point guards Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Celtics will add a 2020 second round draft pick, which comes from the Miami Heat, to the already established package of Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a 2018 first round draft pick that comes from the Brooklyn Nets.
Although the blockbuster trade was officially announced by both teams following its completion last week, reports broke that Cleveland was second guessing the completion of the deal as a result of some concerns that stemmed from Thomas’ health following his physical with the Cavaliers.
Thomas suffered a season ending hip injury in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals and his decision to not have surgery posed concerns for the Cavaliers that Thomas could miss significant time to start the season. Wojnarowski also reports that Cleveland felt Boston was not “fully transparent” about Thomas’ health, and the Cavaliers therefore had every right to void the deal if Thomas was not at a satisfying recovery point.
Additionally, in a press conference following the original completion of the deal, Celtics' general manager Danny Ainge claimed that the injury did play “some” role in influencing the Celtics to deal away Thomas, who had been a major player in Boston’s push towards the top of the Eastern Conference in the past two seasons.
Cleveland's Pursuit of Wanting More
Although the Cavaliers did have other candidates interested in Irving, including the likes of the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks, Wojnarowski stated on ESPN’s SportsCenter that Cleveland attempted to advance talks with Boston by targeting talented young assets in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
Brown was drafted last season and was named to the All-Rookie 2nd team behind his 6.6 points per game and 2.8 rebounds per game averages. Tatum, on the other hand, is entering his rookie season with the Celtics after being drafted third overall in the 2017 draft. Wojnarowski did indicate on this television appearance, however, that Boston was unwilling to budge on this request and was resistant to give up significantly more in this deal.
Thomas was not under the impression that his injury was as significant as the Cavaliers may have thought. In speaking with ESPN and Wojnarowski, Thomas stated “I am not damaged,” indicating that while he may not be back early in the season as Cleveland may hope, he will be back the “same player.”
The Cavaliers did make smart moves in signing both Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon this off season, giving the team options at the point guard position to hold off while they wait for Thomas to fully recover.
Anticipation Levels will be high at the Start of the Season
The Cavaliers and Celtics will face off in the 2017-18 NBA regular season tip-off on Tuesday, Oct. 17, where Irving will make his return to Cleveland.