Kyrie Irving was acquired by the Boston Celtics from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the blockbuster trade that sent Isaiah Thomas out of town last offseason. It was a move that shook the NBA landscape and made many feel that the Celtics could compete with LeBron James and the Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately, Irving suffered from a nagging knee injury at the end of the year and ended up missing the entire playoffs. Gordon Hayward, who was the Celtics’ key free agency addition last offseason, also suffered a season-ending injury. His injury came in the first game of the season.
Boston was able to knock off the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers but lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to James and the Cavaliers. It was a huge step in the right direction, but now Danny Ainge and company have some decisions to make this offseason.
Should the Celtics make a trade to bring in another star? Do they keep the same roster intact and hope that their two stars who missed the playoffs can lead them to a championship? Could Kyrie Irving end up being shopped in trade talks due to the emergence of Terry Rozier?
Irving is one of the best point guards in the NBA when he’s healthy, but the Celtics could consider going in a different direction.
Rozier took over the starting point guard job in the playoffs and proved that he is a more than capable NBA starter. He averaged 16.5 points per game to go along with 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds. In addition to those numbers, he shot 40.6 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 34.7 percent of his three-point attempts.
Mike Gorman: Kyrie Irving staying with #Celtics long term is "not a given" (podcast)
— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) June 4, 2018
Irving, on the other hand, ended up averaging 24.4 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game in the regular season. Those numbers are certainly top-notch, but they could also net the Celtics a big return in a potential trade.
Mike Gorman, who is the Boston Celtics’ play-by-play announcer, talked about the Celtics potentially trading Irving due to his injury issues this offseason in an interview with the CLNS Media Network.
“I think Kyrie’s record over the course of his career would tell you that injuries have been a problem. I think you have to be smart here and look at what the facts are, and understand that they may be a problem going forward, too.”
In the interview, Gorman mentioned New Orleans Pelicans’ star Anthony Davis as a potential trade target for the Celtics. Davis has been connected to Boston in rumors, but so far there have been no concrete reports about trade discussions between the two teams.
All of that being said, why should the Celtics consider trading Irving this coming offseason?
First of all, Gorman has a good point about Irving’s past injury problems. Irving may bounce back perfectly fine, but with Rozier proving himself, moving on from Irving right now with his value being high might be a good idea.
Speaking of Rozier, there are very few point guards who could step in and fill the role that he filled in the playoffs. He stepped up when his team needed him the most. Boston should view Rozier as a starter, but he won’t want to continue being a backup too much longer.
Finally, if the Celtics can land a talent like Davis, they should do it. One of the main weaknesses for Boston last season was post defense, which is an area that Davis is dominant. He would also form a deadly front-court duo with Al Horford that would be tough for opposing defenses to stop.
Trading Irving may not end up being a consideration for Boston, but it would make sense. With Rozier ready to jump in as a full-time starter, trading Irving for a star at a position of need would be a wise move.
Ainge and company know that they are close to winning a championship, which will make the upcoming offseason extremely intriguing to keep an eye on.