The decision to trade away NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics this past offseason blew minds all across the NBA universe, and was easily one of the biggest and most impactful moves made prior to the 2017-18 regular season.
Kyrie — who was disgruntled with the Cavs and sick of playing second fiddle to LeBron James — was sent to Boston alongside Ante Zizic in exchange for fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas, 3&D wing Jae Crowder, as well as the coveted 2018 Brooklyn Nets first round pick.
At the time, the trade was considered equal, or close enough to equal given the situation the Cavaliers were in. Kyrie wanted out, and Cleveland had to accept whatever came their way with time running out, and they were lucky enough to land another All-Star point guard, as well as a valuable first round draft pick which was projected to be picking in the top 3.
However, if you fast-forward to the current day, the Eastern Conference Finals, the trade now looks like another trademark highway robbery committed by Celtics GM Danny Ainge.
After the results of the 2018 NBA draft lottery, the Nets’ pick landed at number 8, a far cry away from the top 3 position it was touted to land at before the season began. On top of that, Isaiah Thomas only managed to play a handful of games for the Cavs after a hip injury kept him out for the majority of the season. When he did return, he was never the same IT that took over fourth quarters in Boston. To compound the headache for Cleveland, Jae Crowder proved to be a product of Brad Stevens’ system, seemingly losing his ability to shoot from outside.
At the trade deadline, the Cavs elected to trade both Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder to the Lakers and Jazz respectively, netting some bench pieces in return for the final stretch of the regular season.
So all in all, the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston was a nightmare through and through for Cleveland, and all they have to show in exchange for their All-Star guard that helped them win a championship back in 2016 is the eighth pick in this year’s draft.