The Cavaliers and Celtics have agreed on a deal that will send Kyrie Irving to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets' unprotected 2018 first-round pick. The details of the deal were first reported by ESPN's Jeff Goodman, while The Vertical's Shams Charania first reported that the two teams had reached an agreement.
Irving asked the Cavaliers to trade him on July 21, a move that surprised many around the league as the Cavs had been to three consecutive finals. Since the request, the Cavs have reportedly discussed deals with multiple teams, including the Suns and Knicks, but a favorite to land Irving had not emerged until Boston on Tuesday night.
The deal involving these two All-Stars is one of the most impactful and surprising trades in league history. Boston was the East's top-seed last season while Cleveland was the No. 2 seed, and the Cavs ended the Celtics' season by defeating them in five games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
It's an impressive haul for the Cavaliers, who receive an All-NBA performer in Thomas as well as a plus-defender and much-improved three-point shooter (39.8 percent last season) in Crowder. Those two pieces are aimed toward helping Cleveland win now, as Thomas will enter free agency after the 2017-18 season and has been clear about seeking a max contract once he does.
With that knowledge, the Cavs also secured pieces that will help them in the future. Zizic has yet to play in the NBA but is just 20 years old and has terrific upside. And the Nets' pick, which Boston had from the 2013 trade that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn, could well fall in the top three, as the Nets are projected to be one of the worst teams in the league yet again.
The Celtics acquire one of the best offensive players in the league who, at 25, is just beginning to enter his prime. Along with his youth, part of the reason the Cavs got such a haul for Irving is his contract situation; Irving has two years left on his contract with a player-option for the 2019-20 season.
While parting with the Nets' pick is a significant loss, Boston managed to hold onto Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, two young wings whom the organization is very high on. This move, coupled with the acquisition of 27-year-old Gordon Hayward in free agency, has put in place a young core in Boston that's in a great position to compete for the East crown for years to come.
Crowder, 27, has three years left on a deal that will pay him around $7 million per season. The 23rd overall pick in the 2016 draft, Zizic spent last season in Europe but signed with Boston on July 1 and will play in the NBA next season.