At first glance, I thought the Celtics gave up too much in the Tuesday night blockbuster trade that landed Kyrie Irving in Boston.
I could see Isaiah, Crowder and the Lakers/Kings pick in exchange for Kyrie, or Isaiah and the Brooklyn pick minus Crowder. But all three of those key assets? It’s a rich haul.
I find it hard to believe that there was a better offer out there for Kyrie than Isaiah, Crowder and the Lakers/Kings pick, but maybe Danny Ainge was (rightfully) fearful of having Cleveland settle for a slightly weaker deal (a Suns deal involving Josh Jackson?) in order to spurn the rival Celtics.
We’ll never really know what deals Ainge was competing against, but they had to have been stiff. The league knows just how good of a player Irving is.
Make no mistake, Irving has the potential to be a top five player in the NBA and his absolute ceiling is NBA MVP. Three years from now, when Irving is 28-years-old, could he be as good as Russell Westbrook is right now? Absolutely.
Isaiah Thomas was a delightful player for the Celtics, but he never had and never will have “Westbrook-level” in him. Thomas’ absolute ceiling is where Irving already is – a top 15 NBA talent.
This is the NBA, and time and time again it’s been proven that if you get the best player in the deal – particularly a player that is under 30 – you win the deal.
The Celtics easily got the best player in this deal (unless, of course, Ante Zizic turns out to be a Croatian Shaquille O’Neal), so the odds are that they will be the victors.
Ainge did what he always does with his assets – waits things out until he finds a deal that he likes. He did it 10 years ago with the Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett deals, he did it again by holding onto Paul Pierce and Garnett until the Nets panicked, and he did it again Tuesday night following a summer in which critics called him an asset hoarder.
Ainge and the Celtics clearly believe that Irving is the type of player that only becomes available in a trade once every solar eclipse.
You’ve gotta pay big to land a superstar in the NBA and Tuesday night the Celtics paid big.