Revisiting the Kyrie Trade

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Let’s revisit the Summer of 2017.  You were probably cooking on your grill enjoying the warm July weather when the notification came through.  The Celtics had acquired Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Nets 2018 first round pick, and a 2020 Heat second round pick.  The Nets pick has become Collin Sexton, a guard from the University of Alabama and the Heat pick has yet to come to fruition.  All facts aside, now that the Kyrie tenure in Boston is over, it is time to have a way too late look at who won the trade. 


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It seemed like immediately all of Boston defiantly exclaimed that Boston had won the deal.  They traded a crippled Isaiah Thomas and a useless Jae Crowder, along with a bunch of unknowns, for one of the best point guards in the game.  However, to truly assess the deal, we must look at it from a different angle.  Yes, the Celtics virtually gave up nothing with both Thomas and Crowder not lasting the year in Cleveland, and Thomas being a shell of his former self. But, in return they got a headcase flat earther, who ultimately set the team back all last year, and ultimately have nothing to show for it.  
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To put it simply, Kyrie Irving was a detriment to the Celtics.  His mere presence was a clear source of controversy throughout the entire season of his contract year.  Irving’s attitude directly impacted and delayed the development of Jayson Tatum, who has seen his games with over 30 points increase tenfold this season.  Most importantly however, he made the 2018-19 Celtics unlikeable, which had been a staple of the rebuilding teams under Brad Stevens. 

From a Cleveland perspective, they did not gain the players they thought they were getting either.  Isaiah Thomas’ bum hip has plagued him ever since leaving Boston, leaving him unavailable for the first half of the season in Cleveland and relegating him to a mere role player in the destinations he has gone to since.  Thomas also did not jive with Lebron, his highness. 

Jae Crowder, despite being touted as having the best contract in the NBA, is a nobody.  He was sent packing in his inaugural season in Cleveland and hasn’t been heard from since.  

The biggest piece that Cleveland acquired was Collin Sexton.  In 139 career games, Sexton is averaging just under 18 points a game, and is up to 19 points a game in the current season.  I have never been a big fan of “what if” scenarios, because you do not truly know who the Celtics would have taken with the pick, but comparing Apples to Apples, Collin Sexton is not too far off from the Celtics current guard, Kemba Walker, who is averaging 22 points a game this year.  Are they the same player?  Absolutely not, but given the fact that Sexton is the only remaining piece of the trade still on the team they were initially traded to, the comparison needs to be mentioned. 

This trade is all a matter of perspective. The green teamers will argue that the Celtics won the deal because they were contenders each year that Kyrie was here.  But were you really?  In either season you did not get to the Finals, and Kyrie spent a lot of the time injured, or being a negative impact on his teammates. 

Ultimately, the answer comes down to a simple black or white question: did you win a championship?  Answer: No.  Give me Collin Sexton over Kyrie Irving, and let the younglings have their chance to grow. 

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The Syndicate welcomes Eli Jacobs to its staff.


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Boston Sports Syndicate: Revisiting the Kyrie Trade
Revisiting the Kyrie Trade
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