The Kyrie Irving deal is undeniably one of the trades that made a huge impact in the entire league. Before the 2017-18 NBA season, most people believed the Cavaliers won the deal. They acquired an All-Star point guard (Isaiah Thomas), a defensive wing (Jae Crowder), a young center (Ante Zizic), and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick for someone who wanted his way out of the team.
Unfortunately, the predictions went wrong. While Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics continue to show their capability to contend for the title this season, the Cavaliers struggled and were forced to make a huge roster overhaul before the February 8 trade deadline, which included moving both Thomas and Crowder. Per MassLive, Irving only gave a short response on the Cavaliers’ moves: “I’m in Boston.”
As of now, there is no doubt that the Celtics made the right decision to trade multiple assets for Kyrie Irving. The 25-year-old All-Star point guard is undeniably more capable of leading the Celtics back to title contention than Thomas. Despite losing Gordon Hayward, the Celtics remain as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, sitting in the No. 2 spot with a 40-19 record.
Their current performance will play a major role in their plan to improve their roster in the offseason through free agency. In the survey conducted by ESPN on 48 anonymous NBA players, the Celtics emerged as the team with the best free-agent pitches. They have beaten the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers who ranked second and third, respectively.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has made good moves in the last two offseasons when he brought Al Horford and Gordon Hayward to Boston. In 2019, the Celtics will be needing to work on re-signing Kyrie Irving when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. According to Tom Westerholm of MassLive, the Celtics are “extremely invested” in keeping Irving.
“The Celtics will need to sign one of their own players soon — Kyrie Irving will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019, and Boston (presumably) will be extremely invested in keeping him around. It will be interesting to see if the combination of two years under Brad Stevens, the extra max money Boston can hand him and the free-agent pitch Danny Ainge and company put together will be enough to keep him around.”
However, it seems like convincing the All-Star point guard to stay won’t be a tough task for the Celtics. In an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump on Friday, Kyrie Irving used the words “years to come” when talking about Gordon Hayward’s current health status. Chris Forsberg of ESPN believes it could be a major hint that Irving envisions a long-term future in Boston.
With Irving, Hayward, Al Horford, and Jayson Tatum, the Celtics will definitely be a huge threat to every NBA teams in the coming years. If they continue to grow as a team, it will not be a surprise if the Irving-led Celtics finally end their years of title drought.