Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

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Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by Shamrock1000 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:09 pm

https://www.si.com/nba/2017/10/11/isaiah-thomas-cavs-celtics-trade-kyrie-irving-hip-injury-lebron-james?utm_campaign=thecrossover&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&xid=socialflow_twitter_si

By Lee Jenkins October 11, 2017
A green-and-gray mini basketball sits on a bed of sand-colored rocks next to the pool in the backyard. The ball belongs to five-year-old Jaiden Thomas, son of Isaiah Thomas, whose name and image grace the side of it. Jaiden brought the ball from Boston to Cleveland, a reminder that his father used to play for the Celtics and played so well they sold souvenirs with his picture on them. Jaiden’s family does not have a hoop at their new home in Westlake, Ohio, a two-story brick traditional with a circular driveway framed by oak trees. So if they want to shoot, they cross the quiet street to the Strong residence. “Excuse me,” Isaiah said, when he first knocked on the Strongs’ front door one overcast afternoon in late September. “Can we use your hoop?”

Joyce Strong laughed because nobody had put a ball through that rusted rim since her daughter, Terry, moved out a couple decades ago. And she apologized because at some point a snow plow rammed the black stanchion, knocking the basket slightly off-center. “That sounds perfect,” Isaiah replied. As he and Jaiden fired jumpers from the Strongs’ cement slab, Joyce and her husband took stock of their affable new neighbors. “I think that’s the point guard the Cavs just got,” Tom said, looking for the local newspaper to provide confirmation. “I don’t know,” Joyce responded. “Isn’t he too small?”

For six years NBA officials asked the same question, until last season, when Thomas provided a definitive answer. No, he is not too small, and yes, the Kings were foolish to bench him and the Suns senseless to trade him and others irresponsible to overlook him. At 5'9", Thomas averaged the most points in the Eastern Conference, putting up totals Kyrie Irving would envy: 41 against Detroit and Portland, 44 against Toronto and Memphis, 52 against Miami and 53 against Washington. The Wizards outburst came in the second round of the playoffs, six weeks after Thomas injured his hip at TD Garden, when he attempted a layup over four Timberwolves and 7-foot center Karl-Anthony Towns crashed down on top of him. But the Celtics were scrapping for the No. 1 seed in the East. Thomas wanted to play. Then his 22-year-old sister, Chyna, died in a car accident on April 15, the day before Game 1 of the first round. Thomas needed to play.

“Hoop is what lets me forget about everything else,” Thomas says. “The court was the only place I felt comfortable. At home, I’d just sit around and think about my sister, which hurt. On the floor, I was free. Emotionally, I wasn’t even there.” Cortisone provided anesthetic for the hip, basketball for the heart. Numb all over, Thomas kept fighting around triple teams and hurtling through 7-footers until the East finals, when he couldn’t push off his right foot or cross over anybody.

So much intrigue has unfolded since: interminable doctor’s appointments, physical-therapy sessions, MRIs. Thomas was traded from Boston to Cleveland, and then he wasn’t, and then he was. His hip became the most scrutinized body part since Donald Trump’s hands. At his house in the Seattle woods, he tried to mourn his sister’s death with family and friends, but peace was elusive. For the first time, it seemed, no one questioned his height and everyone his health.

Thomas won’t play on opening night against the Celtics and there’s a chance he won’t even play on Christmas Day against the Warriors, but his presence will loom over this entire NBA season, casting a shadow longer than his frame. If Thomas comes back at full strength from a torn labrum in his right hip—and the date doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s before April—the Cavaliers will be deeper and tougher than ever, a lock for the Finals and a threat to the Warriors. But if Thomas returns a lesser version of himself, the Celtics have a chance and the Dubs a repeat. “Something crazy is going to happen again,” Thomas says, “because that’s how it always goes with me.”

The Trade—Irving to the Celtics; Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Nets’ first-round pick next year and the Heat’s second-round pick in 2020 to the Cavs—was preposterous enough, on multiple levels. For one thing, players don’t ask to leave LeBron James, as Irving did. For another, conference rivals don’t swap franchise point guards, especially when one of those floor generals is a happy and loved 28-year-old who played through injury and grief while recruiting landmark free agents in successive summers. “None of it made any sense,” Thomas says. “It still doesn’t make any sense. I’m still asking, ‘What the hell happened?’ It’s a trade you make in NBA2K. It’s not a trade you make in real life.”

Four days after the deal was first agreed upon, Thomas flew to Las Vegas for the Floyd Mayweather–Conor McGregor bout. Thomas has been close to Mayweather since 2011, when they met at a training session in Vegas and went to a Robin Thicke concert. Thomas sat in Mayweather’s locker room at T-Mobile Arena as trainers wrapped the champ’s hands for McGregor. “What the hell is going on?” Mayweather asked. Thomas had just completed a physical, a formality to finalize the trade, but Cavaliers doctors came away concerned Thomas would miss more time than originally anticipated. Mayweather used his final minutes of fight prep to query his friend.

“I left Cleveland, everybody was excited, everybody was on board,” Thomas explains. “Then I get off the plane in Vegas and there are all these stories about my hip. People were looking at me like I had one leg.” His 2017, which started with so much promise, was ending with so much pain. “Best year of my career,” Thomas says, “worst year of my life.” At the fight, he sat a row in front of Warriors forward Draymond Green, two second-round picks made good. From Green’s perspective, the uncertainty surrounding Thomas was not strange. It was standard. “This,” he said, “is your story.”

In February 2012, as a rookie drafted 60th overall, Thomas was the Kings’ starting point guard. “That summer,” he begins, “they brought in Aaron Brooks.” He won back the job by January. “That summer, they traded for Greivis Vasquez.” He regained his spot by December. “That summer, they didn’t even offer me a contract.” Five teams expressed interest in Thomas, who had averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists in his third season with the Kings, but he signed with the first one he visited. Even though Phoenix already employed point guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, Thomas felt wanted, a foreign sensation. “I should have waited,” he admits. “I fell into it.” Seven months later, the Suns sent him to Boston at the trade deadline, 10 minutes after they shipped Dragic to Miami. “Boston?” Thomas said to himself when he heard the news on the team bus. “Not Boston.”

The Celtics were rebuilding, but Thomas expedited the project. Not only did he become a back-to-back All-Star, one year he wooed free agent Al Horford on a trip to Atlanta and the next he lured Gordon Hayward over a dinner in Boston. “We made the Celtics cool again,” Thomas says. His older son, James, advised him as recently as July: “You should play with LeBron. You should sign with Cleveland.”
“Stop that,” Thomas hushed. “We’re trying to beat Cleveland!” When Thomas scored 53 points against Washington, he took a moment at the free throw line to savor the Garden’s MVP chants. “Damn,” he thought, “this is everything I wanted.”

It lasted 10 days. In Game 6, the Wizards leveled him with a sledgehammer screen and his right leg throbbed. Effects of the pre–playoff cortisone shot had waned. “I never felt pain like that,” Thomas winces. After an agonizing flight home to Boston, he put up 29 and 12 in a Game 7 triumph to the amazement of Celtics doctors. “I don’t know how you’re doing this,” one marveled. The stakes were too high to sit. Perhaps they were also too high to play.

Five months have passed and Thomas rises from his kitchen table to stretch his right hip. “No doubt about it, I should have sat out the playoffs,” he says. “No way around it, I made it worse.” After Game 2 of the East finals, the Celtics shut down Thomas, and he braced for surgery. “I thought I’d get it done in a couple days and start rehab,” he recounts. Thomas went to New York City for an appointment with Bryan Kelly, a leading orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery and an expert in hip preservation. According to Thomas, Kelly prescribed rest rather than surgery and asked him to return for another MRI in six weeks, when inflammation diminished. Thomas, a regular at Seattle’s renowned pick-up runs, wasn’t even allowed to shoot with Jamal Crawford.

On July 18, Thomas underwent another MRI in New York, attended by Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and team officials. Thomas wasn’t recovering as quickly as he’d hoped, but he left New York encouraged. “It was a good appointment,” he recalls. “Dr. Kelly told me I should continue to rest it.” The Celtics dispatched a physical therapist to Seattle to work with Thomas twice a day in August. He knew Irving wanted out of Cleveland. He had no warning he might be involved.

Sacramento and Phoenix, Aaron Brooks and Eric Bledsoe, provided an early education in the business of basketball. But they could not prepare Thomas for Aug. 22. He has wracked his brain for reasons the Celtics moved him, having been assured performance and personality were not among them. Ainge acknowledged that Thomas’s health played a role, as did his contract. By any normal measure, Thomas is richly compensated at $6.2 million this year, but in the NBA he is a dime-store steal who finally reaches free agency next summer. The irony, of course, is that Thomas jeopardized both health and earning potential while playing hurt for the Celtics.

“I’ve been looking at this wall for five hours,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens texted Thomas after the trade, “trying to figure out what to say to you.” When Sacramento let Thomas walk in 2014, he left town telling himself, “F--- Sacramento. I’m about to kill those dudes.” When Phoenix exiled him the following winter, he pledged, “O.K., now they’re gonna get it.” But there will be no revenge tour this time. “Boston is going to be all love,” he vows, with one exception. “I might not ever talk to Danny again. That might not happen. I’ll talk to everybody else. But what he did, knowing everything I went through, you don’t do that, bro. That’s not right. I’m not saying eff you. But every team in this situation comes out a year or two later and says, ‘We made a mistake.’ That’s what they’ll say, too.”

The trade sat in transactional purgatory for a week as the Cavs investigated Thomas’s hip. They knew he would miss games. They needed to gauge how many. Meanwhile, reports circulated with outside doctors drawing foreboding comparisons with other cases. “They hadn’t even seen one of my MRIs, and they were acting like I was damaged, like this might ruin my career,” Thomas says. “I’m not damaged, I’m just injured. But mentally it messed with me. You don’t know what the Celtics are saying to save their ass or what the Cavs are saying for leverage.” Thomas called Kelly and asked, “Am I missing something? Is there something I should know?” The doctor tried to calm him, citing other patients with more severe conditions who returned to all-NBA levels.

The Cavaliers squeezed another pick out of the Celtics, the 2020 second-rounder, an attempt to mitigate some risk. They wanted to bet on Thomas, but they couldn’t be sure when he will heal or how he will perform. In truth, they still can’t. They are far more optimistic, though, than when they first acquired him. Thomas is working out six days a week, running on an AlterG antigravity treadmill and doing defensive slides in the pool. When the Cavs practice, he lifts, and when they lift, he hits the court. He drains one-dribble pull-up jumpers. Shuttling side-to-side remains a challenge. According to Thomas, the inflammation and bone bruise in his hip are actually more restrictive than the torn labrum, which some athletes are able to endure without much hindrance.

From New York, Kelly confers with Cavaliers doctors about treatment plans and rehab schedules. Thomas wants to beat the organization’s timetable, late December or early January, and his wife recently caught him sleeping with a basketball at night. But he can’t apply the pressure on himself that he did before. He wears a pair of sandals with slow printed over his left foot, grind over his right. The sandals are purple, the color of his Washington Huskies, one team that couldn’t trade him.

“The nice thing about the Cavs is nobody is in a rush,” Thomas says. “Most places are trying to get you back, which isn’t always best for you. These guys know they’re going to play in June. It’s a given.” When Thomas went from Phoenix to Boston two years ago, he got a call from his namesake, who informed him he’d been upgraded. When he went from Boston to Cleveland, Isiah Thomas rang again, with a similar message: “Every time you fall down, you always get up, and the situation is better than you thought it would be.”

He may need a few more conversations to be convinced. “I felt like I was building my own thing in Boston and we were close,” Thomas laments. “We were so close! Dang! That’s what hurts. We went from the lottery to the conference finals. We just got Hayward. We were right there. Think of all the national TV games we were about to have.” He slaps his side. But he also recognizes that his son James, the LeBron fan, had legitimate reasons for pushing Cleveland. “I get to be with the best player in the world now,” Thomas says. “I’ll only have one guy on me. All the double and triple teams will be on 23.”

Before training camp, the Cavaliers convened in Santa Barbara and Thomas reminisced with Kevin Love about their old AAU squad in Portland, United Salad. “Horrible name,” Thomas cracks, “great team.” Love, who used to host Thomas for pregame sleepovers, told his friend in so many words that the salad days are here again. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue is already drawing up sets for Thomas and Love, Thomas and LeBron. Isaiah visualizes Oracle Arena, a Finals MVP trophy in his arms and a max contract on the way. Men who are 5'9" don’t make the NBA without king-sized confidence. “I just gotta get healthy and show the world again,” Thomas says. “That’s not a question for me. It’s only a question for everybody else.”

Thomas always believed the Celtics matched up better with Golden State than they did Cleveland, but Eastern bedrocks have shifted and identities have changed. The C’s are more skilled than they used to be, the Cavs more defiant. “Boston is going to be good,” Thomas predicts. “They’ve got really good players and a great coach. But it takes more than talent. They lost a lot of heart and soul.” Thomas is limited on defense, but the same goes for Irving. Crowder helps cover gaps, a sticky wing the Cavs could have used on Kevin Durant last June, allowing LeBron to roam.

Celtics coaches still text Thomas, checking on him. The first couple of weeks in Cleveland were awkward, when the family was staying at The 9 hotel downtown, in the midst of the Indians’ 22-game winning streak. Jaiden was starting kindergarten and fireworks kept exploding outside his window after bedtime. “Is it always like this?” wondered Thomas’s wife, Kayla. But by mid-September they were ensconced in tranquil Westlake, neighbors dropping off cupcakes and Kayla reciprocating with candles. Jaiden, who spent the past two years in a Cambridge apartment, scooted around the neighborhood with new friends he called his bros. “If they’re happy,” Thomas says, “I’m happy.”

Make no mistake, however, the Thomases are renting. “We were about to buy a place in Boston,” Isaiah laughs. “We won’t ever do that again.” He is understandably wary of NBA politics and power brokers. But he trusts Dr. Kelly—even though he has asked a half-dozen times if he should have undergone the operation—and Aaron Goodwin, the agent who is advising him. If Thomas does not fully recover, he can always get the surgery as a last resort. “My career is a fight,” Thomas says. “I’m not a regular superstar where whatever happens, it’s all right. Every day is a fight. I need people who understand that fight.” Basketball’s smallest heavyweight pauses to consider where his bout stands.

“Oh, we’re only in the middle rounds,” he declares. “I’m playing till I’m 40.”


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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by bobheckler on Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:51 pm

Shamrock,

Thanks for creating this thread and copy-and-pasting the whole article. It makes it easier on people who aren't at a laptop or have a subscription to sites like Boston.com etc.

Like me. I am currently almost at Lassen Volcanic Park in northern CA, doing a birthday road trip to a couple of National Parks (Lassen and then Shasta-Trinity in CA, later Mt. Hood, Crater Lake in Oregon), Klamath Falls, OR and Thor's Well, OR (if you've never heard of Thor's Well, google it and then look at the images). Anyway, by doing this little bit of extra work you made it much easier for me to keep up with the Celtics on this board.

Thanks,
bob


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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by Shamrock1000 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:57 pm

bobheckler wrote:Shamrock,

Thanks for creating this thread and copy-and-pasting the whole article.  It makes it easier on people who aren't at a laptop or have a subscription to sites like Boston.com etc.

Like me.  I am currently almost at Lassen Volcanic Park in northern CA, doing a birthday road trip to a couple of National Parks (Lassen and then Shasta-Trinity in CA, later Mt. Hood, Crater Lake in Oregon), Klamath Falls, OR and Thor's Well, OR (if you've never heard of Thor's Well, google it and then look at the images).  Anyway, by doing this little bit of extra work you made it much easier for me to keep up with the Celtics on this board.

Thanks,
bob


.

My pleasure - Lassen, Shasta and Crater Lake are all fantastic. Never been to Thor's well, but it looks amazing! If you get any further north, Olympic National Park is a great park, and a hike out to Shi Shi Beach is well worth it (I think it's the most northwest point in the states, or at least close...).

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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by steve3344 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:10 pm


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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by mrkleen09 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:22 pm

IT is a warrior who punched way above his weight last year. But a 5'9" player who's game is predicated on being athletic and who crashes to the ground 15x a game AND who has a bad hip, there are too many red flags there to ignore.

That and that Stupid Brinks Truck comment did not endear him to DA. Sorry but you dont threaten the boss and then act surprised when he calls your bluff.

This trade is likely a win for both teams. In the short term, IT comes back and the Cavs make another run at the Warriors with a better supporting cast. In the long run, when Jaylen, Marcus, Terry and Jason are ready to play key roles in a championship team - Kyrie and Gordon will still be in their prime, and IT will a perpetually injured 6th man.
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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by k_j_88 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:19 pm

Thomas would've left for nothing if the C's didn't pony up the "Brinks truck." Ainge did what needed to be done.


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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by gyso on Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:34 pm

Two takes:

1. Dr. Kelly is screwed if he was wrong and IT has to go under the knife within a year.

2. The Cavs management lost all respectability when they held up the trade and eventually went through with it when they got the 2nd rounder.

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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by RosalieTCeltics on Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:13 pm

I loved the kid, loved what he brought back to the Celtics, Celtic Pride, that was missing from the day Paul and kG left. However, If I heard one more time about the "Brinks Truck" I would have gone nuts. He had no reason to repeat and repeat it. Do you think they didn't know they were going to have to pony up big time for him. However, he was never going to get John Wall money.
So, with a bum hip, and that hanging over them, the Celtics moved on with a deal they never thought would happen. Kyrie is a special player, four years younger, how many inches taller? and I believe more talented. I have no issues with Ainge for making this trade. I am sure he knew he was setting himself up for some big criticism, all of Boston was in love with IT, and when he had to go thru all of the heartache with his sister's passing, it made it even easier to dump on Ainge. He has big shoulders, he will take it, and, by the middle of the season the fans will be going crazy in the Garden over this team.

I really wish he had moved on, said his peace and then just became a Cav. Why do these guys feel it necessary to dwell on this and dump on the team that helped them build a great resume to move on with. (Allen, Thomas, Crowder) Business boys Ainge just showed you that, learn from it. It was not as if they went out to Sacramento or the Knicks and got stuck there. He put them in an awesome position to even beat the Celtics in the playoffs and move on.

I feel sad that things like this happen, I want to remember the good times, period
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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by k_j_88 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:26 pm

RosalieTCeltics wrote:I loved the kid, loved what he brought back to the Celtics, Celtic Pride, that was missing from the day Paul and kG left. However, If I heard one more time about the "Brinks Truck" I would have gone nuts.  He had no reason to repeat and repeat it.  Do you think they didn't know they were going to have to pony up big time for him. However, he was never going  to get John Wall money.
So, with a bum hip, and that hanging over them, the Celtics moved on with a deal they never thought would happen.  Kyrie is a special player, four years younger, how many inches taller? and I believe more talented.  I have no issues with Ainge for making this trade.  I am sure he knew he was setting himself up for some big criticism, all of Boston was in love with IT, and when he had to go thru all of the heartache with his sister's passing, it made it even easier to dump on Ainge. He has big shoulders, he will take it, and, by the middle of the season the fans will be going crazy in the Garden over this team.

I really wish he had moved on, said his peace and then just became a Cav. Why do these guys feel it necessary to dwell on this and dump on the team that helped them build a great resume to move on with.  (Allen, Thomas, Crowder)  Business boys Ainge just showed you that, learn from it. It was not as if they went out to Sacramento or the Knicks and got stuck there. He put them in an awesome position to even beat the Celtics in the playoffs and move on.

I feel sad that things like this happen, I want to remember the good times, period

On one hand, I can certainly understand. He developed an attachment to the team and the city and even a vision of the future. He's clearly hurt by this and it shows. I'm sympathetic to that and I do feel for him.

I also feel like he facilitated his own departure. He made it known the type of deal *he* wanted. Ainge knew he wasn't worth that kind of money.

Not only that but I'm sure 30 out of 30 GMs make that same move if the opportunity arose. Ainge's job is to keep the Celtics competitive for as long as possible while also managing future objectives. It's a difficult balancing act that requires some sacrifice. I mean sure, we could keep every fan favorite and give them the money they demand but the organization expects titles. But I must be realistic: I can't say that last season's team was good enough to challenge the Warriors. We couldn't beat the Cavs, either.


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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by Shamrock1000 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:58 pm

Couple of things. First, I think people make too much out of the "back up the brinks truck" thing. IT was asked about his worth, and he came up with a colorful way of saying he is worth the max.Big deal. People here repeated that phrase more than IT actually did. Given his previous two seasons, he is entirely justified saying he is worth the max, no question. There are no perfect players in the nba, and many players with more glaring deficits in their games got max/near max, so the market says he was worth the max. If his hip is indeed shot, then that's another story - I have said many times before that this might be the best explanation as to why Danny made this trade. To say 30 out of 30 GMS would have made the trade is also debatable (again, if the hip is gone, that changes things). I am rooting for Kyrie - he his a Celtic now, and he seems like kind of an interesting guy. But I honestly don't know if this is a good trade - I choose to wait and see. In addition to IT, we gave up Crowder (solid piece on a contender), Zizic (highly touted big prospect) and the Nets pick (possible transformative player). That's alot. You might think Kyrie is worth it, but its not a no brainer. My admittedly unscientific survey of "who won the trade" pieces on the internet was roughly equal on both sides. For arguments sake, below I post one piece that claims not only did the Celtics lose, they got hosed. Probably an exaggeration, but the writer backs it up with advanced stats. Stats (advanced or otherwise) aren't perfect, as we all know, but they are still probably the least subjective metrics for player evaluation:

http://thebiglead.com/2017/08/23/the-cleveland-cavaliers-won-the-kyrie-irving-trade-and-it-isnt-close/

Kyrie Irving has been traded to the Boston Celtics by the Cleveland Cavaliers. While trading a 25-year-old All-Star point guard in the middle of his prime is rarely a good idea, the Cavs clearly won this deal.

In return for Irving, the Cleveland received Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first-round pick. That’s a huge haul that perfectly fits what the Cavs need right now, especially when you consider how discontented Irving was. He needed to be shipped out, and Boston gave up a ton of value to acquire him.

First, let’s look at what the Cavs traded away. Irving is 25, a four-time All-Star and just finished sixth season in the NBA. During the 2016-17 season, he posted career-highs in points (25.2), field goal percentage (47.3) and PER (23.09). While that all looks great, he didn’t stack up well when measured against other top players using advanced stats.

Irving finished 23rd in PER, 17th in offensive win shares (7.4), 157th in defensive win shares (1.5), 23rd in total win shares (8.9) and 44th in win shares per 48 minutes (.170). He was 28th in value over replacement player (2.9) and 49th in box plus/minus (2.5). So according to advanced stats, he was roughly between the 20th and 50th most valuable player in the NBA last season. And it was likely his best professional campaign so far.

The Cavs scored a replacement at point guard in Thomas, who was electrifying during the 2016-17 season. He averaged career-highs in points (28.9), field goal percentage (46.3), PER 26.59), true shooting percentage (62.5) and turnover percentage (8.7). The two-time All-Star was fantastic and carried the Celtics for much of the season.

Trade Analysis
While he’s three years older than Irving — and wildly undersized at 5’9″ — Thomas was far better than Kyrie last season according to advanced metrics. Thomas was second in offensive win shares (10.9), 145th in defensive win shares (1.6), ninth in total win shares (12.5) and 11th in win shares per 48 (.234). He was also 15th in value over replacement player (4.Cool and 18th in box plus/minus (5.4).

Yes, Thomas is set to hit free agency next summer so he’ll need a big contract extension, while Irving can opt out in 2019. So the Celtics get one more guaranteed year out of Kyrie than the Cavs do out of Thomas. But both guys will wind up being extremely expensive soon, so that aspect of the deal is almost a wash.

If you take the position that Irving is a markedly better player now than Thomas and/or has a brighter future, that’s fine and I might even agree with you. But the Cavs got so much more from this trade. They added Crowder, a versatile workhorse on the wing who is coming off a season in which he averaged 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 32.4 minutes per game. He also posted career-highs in field goal percentage (46.3) and 3-point percentage (39.Cool. Crowder is under contract for three more seasons and is due just $21.9 million total over that span. That is an extremely manageable deal for the Cavs to take on.

Zizic is a bit of a lottery ticket pickup for Cleveland. He’s a 20-year-old Croatian 7-footer with a decent amount of international experience. The 23rd pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Zizic has yet to make his NBA debut. If he winds up being as good as he’s been hyped to be during his time in Europe, he would become the only legit center on the Cavs roster (no, Tristan Thompson doesn’t count). Cleveland’s need for more length and firepower in the post showed during its loss to the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals.

But the big prize in all of this — even more important than the addition of Thomas — is the acquisition of the Nets’ first-rounder in the 2018 NBA Draft. Brooklyn is set to be awful again next season and that unprotected pick should at least land in the top five. That means the Cavs would have a legitimate shot at Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr., Mohamed Bamba, DeAndre Ayton or Slovenian wiz-kid Luka Doncic.

Now lets assume for a minute LeBron James still leaves the Cavs after next season. Even if that happens and they get nothing in return, the Irving deal sets them up to be competitive in his absence. Cleveland got a primary scorer in Thomas, a tough wing with skill in Crowder, a potential future rim-protector in Zizic and a potential superstar to build with in the Nets pick. That’s a great trade.

On Boston’s end, Irving is still just 25 and is wildly talented. In fact, he’s one of the best point guards in the league. That said, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has set his system up for a “share the ball” mentality, and Kyrie prefers to be ball-dominant and play in one-on-one situations. Could Stevens tame Irving and get him to buy-in? Perhaps. But it’s just as likely that Irving wants to test free agency in two years and leave Boston on pins and needles hoping he returns.

The Celtics are taking a huge risk with this deal. Irving is a wildcard and an often sour teammate, while that Nets pick could produce a legitimate superstar.

The Cavs had done virtually nothing right all offseason, but they won Tuesday’s trade. And I don’t think it was close.

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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by k_j_88 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:21 pm

Shamrock,

The context of my comment really stems from the circumstances surrounding the trade as it was made. Ultimately, the Cavs got more assets and the Celtics got the better player. Both teams gave up a lot. We could debate that Boston gave up more (which I would agree with), but moving Thomas looked necessary in my eyes.

With Thomas's hip an uncertain factor, and considering his age as well as his height, why wouldn't other GMs make the trade? If you don't make a move, you risk losing Thomas for nothing. This is also assuming that the team making a prospective trade for Kyrie has the assets to trade and will still remain competitive afterwards.

If the trade isn't made: Horford, Crowder, Tatum, Brown, Hayward, Morris, Smart, and Rozier as the main chunk of the rotation. Not a bad roster but definitely not enough to compete with the Warriors, Rockets, Cavaliers, Spurs, etc on an even playing field.


KJ
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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by Shamrock1000 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:11 pm

k_j_88 wrote:Shamrock,

The context of my comment really stems from the circumstances surrounding the trade as it was made. Ultimately, the Cavs got more assets and the Celtics got the better player. Both teams gave up a lot. We could debate that Boston gave up more (which I would agree with), but moving Thomas looked necessary in my eyes.

With Thomas's hip an uncertain factor, and considering his age as well as his height, why wouldn't other GMs make the trade? If you don't make a move, you risk losing Thomas for nothing. This is also assuming that the team making a prospective trade for Kyrie has the assets to trade and will still remain competitive afterwards.

If the trade isn't made: Horford, Crowder, Tatum, Brown, Hayward, Morris, Smart, and Rozier as the main chunk of the rotation. Not a bad roster but definitely not enough to compete with the Warriors, Rockets, Cavaliers, Spurs, etc on an even playing field.


KJ

Thanks KJ - always appreciate a well-thought out post. It's one of the reasons I love this board. The people here know their hoops, and I learn a ton from reading their posts. In all honesty, I mostly agree with you. As I said, if IT's hip is gone, then Danny's decision makes complete sense (though, damn that's cold - people wonder why players are so hesitant to give hometown discounts....). If I have taken a contrarian position, it is just to make the point that this is complex trade, and saying it is a no brainer one way or the other ignores alot  of evidence (another reason I love this board - it's not just an echo chamber). For instance, while you acknowledge the Cavs got better assets, you claim that the Celtics got the better player. Most people here and elsewhere would probably agree. Hell, I might even agree. But the numbers don't back it up. By conventional stats, IT had a slight edge the last couple of years. And, as the writer quoted in my previous post shows, advanced stats actually suggest IT is the better player. It is strange that people can challenge the merit of stats and then rave about the Warriors, perhaps the most sabermetric-oriented team in the league. Even by the eye test, its hard to say Kyrie is better than IT. IF not for his defensive deficincies, IT had an historic season last year, so historic that even a slight drop-off would still be outstanding.  Kyrie is younger, but IT is only 28, not 32. History suggests that he will still be in, or near, top form by the end of his next contract. Again, as you point out, the hip thing could be a game changer, but nobody really knows how his hip will recover (Danny might, but us fans do not). Also, don't forget that Kyrie will be 28 in 2 years, when it is time to give him, a smallish PG who relies on speed and qucikness, a max contract that will be even bigger than today's max. By that time, the Net's pick could be beginning to come into his own (I know, it's also possible that pick is a bust)

Kyrie is taller. Can't argue with that. So far though, that height difference has not resulted in superior play - both are gifted offensively, both suck on D. I guess one could argue that IT had the benefit of playing under Brad, and that if Brad was able to bring IT to his current level of excellence, then he will be ablle to bring Kyrie to even more dizzying heights. One caveat worth reiterating is that the thing Kyrie excels at most, iso-ball, is downplayed in Brad's system. That being said, in all his interviews, Kyrie has said he really wants to play Brad's style, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

In summary, to paly the role of the board's "devil's advocate", I would argue that it isn't really possible to definitively declare Kyrie the better player at this point in time. If that is true, then giving up Jae, Zizic, and the Net's pick seems like too much. Again, I hope I am wrong. Complicated trade - could take years before any of us can really declare winners and losers (what will become of that Net's pick???). I hope that this, and my previous posts, are not taken as "negative" or "a challenge" to anyone, but rather as thought/discussion inducing comments on a complicated subject.

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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by wideclyde on Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:46 pm

Every trade in the NBA is at least somewhat of a gamble. The C's trade with Cleveland is no different.

I believe that Ainge made a very good trade after going over all of the factors that he had to consider.

As much as everyone loved Thomas during his stay in Boston, we all have to understand that the NBA is a business first and foremost. Loyalty by teams and/or players be damned as the dollar (as it has to) rules all decisions by players and administration.

Ainge apparently thought that getting Irving was going to make the Cs stronger than having Thomas and the other pieces that went to Cleveland. When a GM gets the best player in a deal, we at least need to give him the benefit of the doubt for at least two seasons.

Isaiah Thomas certainly did help facilitate his trade (to somewhere) with his injury decision (not to operate) and his projected salary demands, but it is not totally his fault he was traded. I hope that I am wrong, but Thomas may never come close to playing again at last year's level due to this hip problem. He did attach himself to Boston and we attached ourselves to him. We loved his performance, leadership and his grit. We also felt deeply for him when his sister passed away, and it was a great relationship. However, circumstances changed as time went on enough to end the relationship.

Also, as KJ88 mentioned, Thomas would have left Boston in five seconds next summer if a better financial offer had come from another team just as he will leave Cleveland if he gets a better offer at the end of this season. Upon such a signing, he would have said that he loved Boston, enjoyed his stay, and would have missed everyone of his teammates, coaches, administration and fans, but he would have been looking for a place to live and saying great things about any team and any city where he was heading towards at the same time.

This is not meant to be overly critical of just Thomas, but rather my observation of many, many players over the years who leave one team for another to take more money.

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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by RosalieTCeltics on Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:59 pm

You are right. IT''s feelings were hurt, the pain is still raw, and people say alot of things when they are hurt. Hey, no one could have been more hurt than Ainge when he got traded years ago to Sacramento! He was part of the core of a great team that was aging and needed some push. Red was a truly loyal leader, he never would have traded one of the Big 3, but, he did make changes elsewhere. Look at Maxwell, he said in an interview recently that he has never gotten over being traded and not being a part of the ;86 team. BUT, we never would have had Walton without that trade, and we never would have had a title.

I want this to stop, I know it won't for a while. So, we, as fans, have to look forward. Ainge did what he thought was right, and I believe he will be proven to have made the right decision.
Not for anything, if Wyc or Pags did not want this trade it never would have happened. The upper management obviously backed him totally.

Let the season begin, I can't wait!. Maybe IT will finally put this behind him and be thankful he was traded to a team that could stop the Celtics from getting where they want to go. It could be worse, he could be on the Knicks!!!!
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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by fierce on Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:53 pm

I think Ainge would not have traded IT to the Cavs if IT was healthy.

Giving the Cavs a healthy IT and Crowder, plus the Brooklyn pick, would've upgraded the Cavs roster.

I think Ainge would've still traded for Kyrie but IT would not have been included.

Only reason why Ainge traded IT is because he's damaged goods.
Otherwise we would now have IT and Kyrie as starters.
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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by NYCelt on Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:06 pm

After all the news stories and player's thoughts have faded, I think it will ultimately prove to be a good deal for both teams.

From Boston's perspective, I'm sure they didn't want to get off to a slow start after the acquisition of Hayward and having the 1st (3rd) pick.  Knowing Thomas was injured would set them behind Cleveland for as much as half of the season.  Irving isn't all that much different a player than Thomas, but he is healthy.  For Boston, that's the key ingredient and an immediate need solved.  Being a little younger also gives Irving some appeal down the road.

For Cleveland, it's an extremely good deal either way.  Rose looks capable of filling the point until Thomas comes back.  If IT can come back around January as projected, Rose, if he can stay healthy again, will allow Thomas the luxury of working back in over time.  Crowder is now the small forward and that Brooklyn pick could turn into a very nice young player for The Cav's future.

The biggest risk is probably Boston's.  The Celtics' success or failure in this swap rests entirely on Irvings shoulders and between his ears.  He's the only player that was acquired here.  There isn't any potential surprise bonus like Crowder was from the Rondo trade.  Can Kyrie deliver the leadership he claims he can and become the man? It's an unknown right now.  If so, however, a good part of the core of a long-term contender is in place right now.

I have no doubt that Thomas will be one of those players Boston fans will always have a special place for.  He wanted to be a Celtic.  And he showed it by basically carrying the team through the end of last season, despite major adversity the likes of which have not been seen in Boston before.  This most recent interview will only serve to reinforce the high opinion of Thomas held by Boston fans.
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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by mrkleen09 on Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:28 pm

This is something I heard today that I wanted to pose to the group here.

IT said his doctor advised him AGAINST playing in the playoffs and they he should just shut it down for the season and IT told him and the Celtics he would play through it, as it meant that much to him.

If that is true - and after knowing that DA traded IT, does that change your view of the way Thomas was treated?

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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by fierce on Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:37 am

mrkleen09 wrote:This is something I heard today that I wanted to pose to the group here.

IT said his doctor advised him AGAINST playing in the playoffs and they he should just shut it down for the season and IT told him and the Celtics he would play through it, as it meant that much to him.

If that is true - and after knowing that DA traded IT, does that change your view of the way Thomas was treated?  


I really believe Ainge would not have traded IT if IT was healthy.

Only reason why Ainge traded IT is because he's damaged goods.
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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by k_j_88 on Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:11 am

Mrkleen,

I've always been of the mindset that if he opted to not get the surgery, he did it to himself. Who gave him the advice that it was best for him to not get surgery vs getting it was one of the questions I was bringing up when the trade first went down.

And if Ainge is the GM, no one is untouchable. You will be traded if the price is right.

KJ
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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by Shamrock1000 on Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:41 am

fierce wrote:
mrkleen09 wrote:This is something I heard today that I wanted to pose to the group here.

IT said his doctor advised him AGAINST playing in the playoffs and they he should just shut it down for the season and IT told him and the Celtics he would play through it, as it meant that much to him.

If that is true - and after knowing that DA traded IT, does that change your view of the way Thomas was treated?  


I really believe Ainge would not have traded IT if IT was healthy.

Only reason why Ainge traded IT is because he's damaged goods.

Fierce, that makes the most sense to me.

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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by beat on Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:10 am

Once Irving became available anyone became potentially tradeable.  I don't think it had anything to do with his injury. Ainge never anticipated Irving would become available once that became known wheels went into motion.  

Imho IT took us as far as he could but to go further we needed a bigger PG. We will see in a year or 2 if indeed rolling the dice on this deal works out.  People have bitched we have too many assets and needed to make a move. Well we certainly did.  



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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by fierce on Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:18 am

beat wrote:Once Irving became available anyone became potentially tradeable.  I don't think it had anything to do with his injury. Ainge never anticipated Irving would become available once that became known wheels went into motion.  

Imho IT took us as far as he could but to go further we needed a bigger PG. We will see in a year or 2 if indeed rolling the dice on this deal works out.  People have bitched we have too many assets and needed to make a move. Well we certainly did.  



beat

I think the Cavs would have preferred Morris or other Celtic players, like Yabu or Rozier, included in the package for Kyrie.

Ainge sacrificed the Brooklyn pick so that the Cavs will be forced to take an IT who's injured.

You can also say the Cavs agreed to take an injured IT because the Brooklyn pick was part of the deal.

If IT was healthy, Ainge could've traded IT, Crowder, and other players, to make salaries match, for Kyrie.
The Brooklyn pick didn't need to be included because a healthy IT and Crowder is enough for a disgruntled Kyrie Irving.
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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by beat on Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:33 am

fierce wrote:
beat wrote:Once Irving became available anyone became potentially tradeable.  I don't think it had anything to do with his injury. Ainge never anticipated Irving would become available once that became known wheels went into motion.  

Imho IT took us as far as he could but to go further we needed a bigger PG. We will see in a year or 2 if indeed rolling the dice on this deal works out.  People have bitched we have too many assets and needed to make a move. Well we certainly did.  



beat

I think the Cavs would have preferred Morris or other Celtic players, like Yabu or Rozier, included in the package for Kyrie.

Ainge sacrificed the Brooklyn pick so that the Cavs will be forced to take an IT who's injured.

You can also say the Cavs agreed to take an injured IT because the Brooklyn pick was part of the deal.

If IT was healthy, Ainge could've traded IT, Crowder, and other players, to make salaries match, for Kyrie.
The Brooklyn pick didn't need to be included because a healthy IT and Crowder is enough for a disgruntled Kyrie Irving.
What I am saying IT's injury did not cause this trade.  Fact is he'd been injured for months.  What caused the trade to happen was Irving wanting out.  That set the wheels in motion and If we were going to after him IT became expendable injured or not.

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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by Shamrock1000 on Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:44 am

fierce wrote:
beat wrote:Once Irving became available anyone became potentially tradeable.  I don't think it had anything to do with his injury. Ainge never anticipated Irving would become available once that became known wheels went into motion.  

Imho IT took us as far as he could but to go further we needed a bigger PG. We will see in a year or 2 if indeed rolling the dice on this deal works out.  People have bitched we have too many assets and needed to make a move. Well we certainly did.  



beat

I think the Cavs would have preferred Morris or other Celtic players, like Yabu or Rozier, included in the package for Kyrie.

Ainge sacrificed the Brooklyn pick so that the Cavs will be forced to take an IT who's injured.

You can also say the Cavs agreed to take an injured IT because the Brooklyn pick was part of the deal.

If IT was healthy, Ainge could've traded IT, Crowder, and other players, to make salaries match, for Kyrie.
The Brooklyn pick didn't need to be included because a healthy IT and Crowder is enough for a disgruntled Kyrie Irving.

Agree. Good analysis.

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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

Post by fierce on Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:25 pm

beat wrote:
fierce wrote:
beat wrote:Once Irving became available anyone became potentially tradeable.  I don't think it had anything to do with his injury. Ainge never anticipated Irving would become available once that became known wheels went into motion.  

Imho IT took us as far as he could but to go further we needed a bigger PG. We will see in a year or 2 if indeed rolling the dice on this deal works out.  People have bitched we have too many assets and needed to make a move. Well we certainly did.  



beat

I think the Cavs would have preferred Morris or other Celtic players, like Yabu or Rozier, included in the package for Kyrie.

Ainge sacrificed the Brooklyn pick so that the Cavs will be forced to take an IT who's injured.

You can also say the Cavs agreed to take an injured IT because the Brooklyn pick was part of the deal.

If IT was healthy, Ainge could've traded IT, Crowder, and other players, to make salaries match, for Kyrie.
The Brooklyn pick didn't need to be included because a healthy IT and Crowder is enough for a disgruntled Kyrie Irving.
What I am saying IT's injury did not cause this trade.  Fact is he'd been injured for months.  What caused the trade to happen was Irving wanting out.  That set the wheels in motion and If we were going to after him IT became expendable injured or not.

Beat

Not necessarily.

Giving the Cavs a healthy IT and Crowder would've meant the Cavs got an upgrade.
Celts are better off keeping a healthy IT and Jae Crowder if that's the case.

The Celts with a healthy IT and the addition of Hayward would've made the Celts better than the Cavs if the Cavs lost Kyrie to another team.

A healthy IT was an MVP candidate.
There's no reason to trade him.

I think Ainge could've gotten Kyrie without giving up IT.
There's no reason why Kyrie and IT can't coexist with the Celts.

What the Cavs were really after was the Brooklyn pick.
In the trade for Kyrie Irving, IT was just a throw in.
What the Cavs were really after was the Brooklyn pick.
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Re: Good article on IT; shares some thoughts on "the trade"

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