(Photo / Times Union)
Yesterday, I talked about Kyrie Irving requested a trade and several possibilities for him. And today, the NBA social media world is still on fire and staying woke on Kyrie Irving and the trade rumors surrounding him. Being a homer, and I guess a green-teamer (but not a blind one), I want to focus on a Celtics angle for this Kyrie Irving story. According to NBA Insider Zach Lowe the Celtics, “have placed the obligatory call” hoping to at least be aware of Irving’s price. This should come as no surprise. If a star is being dangled at all, Danny Ainge is making calls left and right. He knows that if he finds a player that he really wants, he has the assets to beat any offer from a different team.
Lowe suggested a Celtics offer of Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and a 1st-round pick. A similar theoretical offer came from FS1’s Jason McIntyre in which the Celtics offer Thomas, Crowder, Yabusele, and the 2018 Nets pick. McIntyre’s offer is a little much, but honestly not far off. *Green Teamer army hunts me down and says I’m not a real fan*. How could I possibly suggest trading a 5’9 point guard who is a liability on defense, an average at best wing, and a pick that should be very good but not guaranteed to be #1 for a point guard that absolutely gave the Celtics the business in the playoffs and is a legitimate superstar? Becuase I am realistic and want to improve.
I have to first say this and give IT his due diligence. I love the heart, passion, and fight that Isaiah Thomas has given this Celtics team the past 2 and a half seasons. I would not trade him for just anybody. But if Irving is on the table and trading Isaiah gets the deal done, I think you have to trade him. Irving is 3 years younger, several inches taller, a better ball handler, and just as lethal of a scorer. He also has 2 years left on his deal as opposed to Isaiah’s 1. The Celtics need a point guard for the long term future and Kyrie could be that. The Celtics passed on two elite point guard prospects in this draft to get Jayson Tatum. And they already have Jaylen Brown. Adding Kyrie Irving would give you a big 3 to grow together for the long future, having the potential of rattling off several titles in the 2020’s. I would try to get the Cavs to take the Lakers/Kings pick from the Fultz trade instead of the Nets pick. And Jae Crowder should be traded. Please take him. I would do that deal to get it done.
This would leave the Celtics with a starting lineup of most likely Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, and Aron Baynes. And this could leave the Cavs with a lineup of IT, JR Smith, Lebron James, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson. The problem here is although the gap is a lot closer because Kyrie Irving would exploit Isaiah defensively for the Celtics instead of against the Celtics, it might not be enough. The Celtics do also have Gordon Hayward to try and match Lebron’s scoring. This new Celtics still wouldn’t be able to stop the Cavs, but they may be able to outscore them in a high scoring game. However, Cleveland having Isaiah’s scoring might be tough to match.
At the end of the day, I don’t think this deal will happen. But it is late in July and I have to write about something. Danny Ainge won’t give up his good picks unless it is for a player of Anthony Davis/Russell Westbrook/Paul George caliber. Kyrie, although a superstar, is not quite at that top tier level. I also think that Ainge thinks Isaiah is part of a long term successful plan, which scares me at least a little bit. But with how hectic this offseason has been, no Kyrie Irving trade could surprise me.