The Cavaliers and Boston Celtics finally finalized the trade that will send Kyrie Irving to Boston and bring Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland, and at least one person thinks it is a great deal for the Cavs.
The trade was completed late Wednesday when Boston agreed to give the Cavs a second-round draft pick in 2020 (from Miami).
“I really think Koby Altman made a tremendous trade here, given the circumstances,” former Cavs general manager David Griffin said of his successor on NBA TV. “When you’re trying to win a championship, there is no in between. You’re all the way with me or you’re all the way against me.
“And I think this was a situation where Kyrie made it clear he had a goal set that might not have jived with what Cleveland’s was.”
The Cavs and Celtics announced on Aug. 22 a deal that sent Irving, who had requested a trade, to Boston for Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and an unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick that originally belonged to the Brooklyn Nets, who had the worst record in the league last season.
Thomas underwent a physical in Cleveland on Friday, and numerous reports said the Cavs weren’t entirely pleased with the results on his injured hip, which resulted in Boston giving Cleveland the extra second-round pick.
“They made a deal that, even in the absence of Isaiah Thomas, is a tremendous collection of assets and value (Altman) was able to get,” Griffin said. “At the same time, Boston made a trade to get a piece that really could be the key for them — a 25-year-old player in his prime who is an NBA champion, an Olympic champion and is really just starting to scratch the surface of who he can be.”
In a Tuesday interview with ESPN.com, Thomas vowed to be “the same player” he was prior to missing the final three games of the 2017 Eastern Conference finals against the Cavs, but stopped short of saying when he would be back to 100 percent.
“There’s never been an indication that this is something messing up my career,” the 5-foot-9 Thomas said. “Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I’m going to be back and I’m going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that.”
The 28-year-old Thomas is entering the final year of his contract after averaging a career-high
28.9 points last season, but the Cavs also traded for a quality small forward in Crowder, a 20-year-old center who could develop in Zizic and a first-round pick that could be among the top five choices in next year’s draft.
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