The departure of Kyrie Irving in the summer of 2017 tremendously decreased the Cleveland Cavaliers' chances of winning their second NBA championship title. The tandem of LeBron James and Kevin Love managed to carry the Cavaliers to the top of the Eastern Conference in the 2017-18 NBA season, but without Irving, they were easily defeated by the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals. As of now, Love is the only superstar in Cleveland as James also decided to part ways with the Cavaliers in the last free agency period.
In a recent interview with Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert discussed several topics regarding his team, including the blockbuster deal that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. Gilbert admitted that losing Irving deeply hurt the Cavaliers, but during those times, they had no choice but to trade him. If they didn't move him during the 2017 NBA offseason, Irving's agent reportedly told the Cavaliers that the All-Star point guard would undergo surgery that would keep him out for the rest of the 2017-18 NBA season.
"It becomes a melting snowball," Gilbert said. "We had to trade him when we did. What team would want Kyrie with only one year on his contract knowing he could leave after the season? You won't get much back (under those circumstances)."Gilbert strongly believes that they made the right decision to send Kyrie Irving to the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder may have failed to help them win their second NBA championship title, but the other assets they acquired from the Celtics, Collin Sexton and Ante Zizic, greatly helped them in rebuilding the team in the post-LeBron James era. And with almost two years passed since the blockbuster deal, Gilbert now predicts Irving will leave the Celtics during the 2019 NBA free agency period.
"I don't know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston," Gilbert said. "We could have ended up with nothing. Looking back after all the moves [general manager Koby Altman] made, we killed it in that trade."
The rumors about Kyrie Irving and his impending free agency have been among the most talked about topics in the league in the past months. After committing to re-sign with the Celtics before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season, Irving had a change of heart and already wants to keep all his options open when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. If Irving takes his talents somewhere else, it would be clear that the Cavaliers really "killed" the 2017 blockbuster trade with the Celtics, like what Dan Gilbert said.