The Cavaliers took a shot to the gut this off-season when their 25-year-old superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, made known his request to be traded.
After losing all leverage when the report became public and scrambling to make a deal happen before training to prevent any disruption to the team harmony entering the 2017-18 season, they were able to strike a deal with the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizicm and Brooklyn’s 2018 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick.
So far Kyrie Irving has looked like an MVP candidate leading the Cavaliers to the best record in the NBA and the Cavaliers have had slightly disappointing returns from Jae Crowder and are still at least a month away from the debut of Thomas.
After initially complimenting current general manager Kobi Altman for the trade, former Cavs GM David Griffin has changed his tune.
Here is an excerpt from his recent interview with Sirius XM Radio:
“Will it be judged historically as a good trade? No. I mean, it won’t be, because Kyrie’s going to be a special individual player. And the way this works from a social-media standpoint and a media-coverage standpoint, all they’re going to talk about is how good he is. But given the cards Koby Altman was playing at the time, given the circumstances they found themselves in, if you were dealing with the situation where LeBron refused to tell you unequivocally he’s staying in the organization, you don’t know what his long-term future is, you’re trying to win championships while he’s there and simultaneously set yourself up for a future run, I think the deal they put together was really well constructed. And I think it was a very good deal given the cards they were playing at the time. But do I think he’s going to be hailed as having made a great trade deep into the future? Probably not. But if he wins a championship, I know Koby doesn’t care. So, he had a subset of things he had to achieve, and I think if you know what those things are, he probably achieved them.”
I fully understand what Griffin is trying to say here, when viewed through the prism of Irving’s stardom and likely success with the Celtics for many years, the deal will not be seen as win for the Cavaliers organization from a historical and national media perspective, but when considering all of the factors that were in play for Altman and the situation he was placed in, he did about as good as he could have done.
That being said, it is way too early to even make the statement Griffin is making on the trade as Thomas hasn’t even played a game for the Cavaliers yet and who knows what that Brooklyn pick could turn into.
If the Cavaliers make the NBA Finals yet again or even win another NBA title this season behind the elite play of LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas will it still be a win for Boston? Long-term maybe, but that would be hard to say with any certainty.
We won’t really be able to assess this trade accurately for at least three years, what we can do hopefully is see these two point guards battle it out in the playoffs this season.