Today’s Oklahoma City Thunder Loud Links examines the recent blockbuster deal between Cleveland and Boston.
Following weeks of conjecture, the Cleveland Cavaliers have granted Kyrie Irving's trade request. In return, the Cavaliers receive a prize haul from Boston, including MVP-candidate Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Nets’ 2018 first-round Draft Pick.
Prior to Tuesday’s deal, Irving, 26, made no secret of his desire to step outside of LeBron James’ encompassing shadow in search of an expanded role.
Now alongside sturdy secondary performers Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, the 2016 NBA titlist has that chance.
Conversely, perennial Eastern-giant Cleveland bolsters its two-way stock with Crowder, while adding an elite shot-maker in Thomas. The Cavs also hold prime assets consisting of Zizic and what is sure to become a high 18’ lottery selection.
As post-trade reaction abounds, OKC Twitter has declared Cleveland as the transaction’s early winner:
Thunder Nation: What are your thoughts on the Kyrie-Thomas/Crowder/Nets 18 pick trade? Who won the deal? Does it improve either's title odds— Welcome To Loud City (@WTLC) August 23, 2017
Although, mild questions remain regarding the status of Thomas’ injured hip, as mentioned Tuesday by Celtics GM Danny Ainge:
“There's gonna be probably a little bit of a delay for Isaiah as he starts the season this year, but I think that Isaiah should be fine and healthy as the season goes along...”
NBA personality Adrian Wojnarowski on the 28-year-old guard’s return-timetable following a playoff-ending injury vs. Cleveland:
Boston has believed rest + rehab would return Thomas' hip to a full recovery. Cavs plan to monitor closely, anxious to give him physical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 23, 2017
It is worth noting that five-foot-nine inch Thomas turns 29 in Feb and will likely demand max free-agent value next summer.
Meanwhile, Irving’s contract runs through 2020’, at which point he holds a team option.
Though split by the trade’s acrimony and gravitas, no Cavaliers fan will forget Kyrie Irving’s 2016 NBA Finals Game Seven clinching shot vs. Golden State.
On that night, the former #1 overall pick helped end “The Land’s” 52-year championship drought.
In a poll conducted between the NBA and thirty-nine 2017 draftees, Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson finished as the survey’s third-ranked outside shooter, and second-best athlete.
While Ferguson, 19, missed an opportunity to showcase these attributes during Summer League on account of work-release issues, “2K’s” peers will get an up-close view in the years ahead.
Voters also listed Russell Westbrook as their second favorite player, behind LeBron James.