Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving

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Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#1 » by RealGM Articles » Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:02 am

Kyrie Irving took control of his future and requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers and it took them a little over a month to settle on an agreement with their biggest Eastern Conference rival to execute a deal that was significantly better than anything else out there.


The Cavaliers were able to get a reasonable facsimile of Irving in Isaiah Thomas, along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first round pick. The Cavaliers have more depth and optionality to override the drop-off from Irving to Thomas while also having one of the league’s most valuable long-term assets to use for themselves or convert into another helpful piece in the short-term.


Thomas is coming off an injured hip that hasn’t been surgically repaired and he’s already one of the NBA’s worst defensive players and that will become an even bigger issue as he ages. Irving has hardly given a consistent effort defensively, but he’s capable of at least turning it on at times in the playoffs.


But Thomas is one of the best individual scorers and is coming off a career season in which he had a True Shooting Percentage of .625. Thomas will share the scoring load with LeBron James just as Irving did over the past three seasons. A package with the Suns centered on Eric Bledsoe would have made more sense for the Cavaliers with his capacity to defend, but the sweeteners were nowhere close to what the Celtics traded.


While Crowder’s defense has fallen off recently, he’s still one of the NBA’s best 3-and-D wings on a bargain contract at $7.3 million this season and $7.8 million in 2018. The Cavaliers had nobody other than James to defend Kevin Durant in last year’s Finals and now Crowder will get those duties whenever he’s in the game. James can slide over to Draymond Green.


The acquisition of the pick from Brooklyn in 2018 gives the Cavaliers a movable asset either at the trade deadline, or in July if LeBron James re-signs. If James leaves, a pick that will likely be in the lottery will help accelerate their unavoidable rebuild just as trading with the Clippers for the pick that became Irving helped them in 2011 after James left the first time.


Cleveland also saved a substantial amount of money in luxury tax payments with this trade.


When comparing what the Cavaliers traded for versus the Indiana Pacers with Paul George and the Chicago Bulls with Jimmy Butler, the trade is even more of a win. 


Grade for Cavaliers: A-


Irving is the closest thing the Celtics have had to a true superstar in this era, but perhaps more importantly have avoided re-signing Thomas to a five-year contract at or near the max. The issue with trading down Markelle Fultz for Jayson Tatum wasn’t necessarily about their talent gap as much as it was committing to Thomas.


Boston has been reluctant to give up on Crowder and any future picks for other trade scenarios, so Danny Ainge’s calculus in finally doing so on Irving is an interesting use of resources. While the Celtics have to make this trade to get the best player in the deal who is also several years younger, the cost was massive.


The Celtics have almost entirely turned over their roster since the end of last season, retaining only Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier.


This trade makes the Celtics better over the long-term even if it risks that Brooklyn pick. The Celtics also own the Lakers' pick in 2018 and they were running out of ways they can cash those future assets in for an established superstar.


Grade for Celtics: B+

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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#2 » by Thatmetricsdude » Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:39 am

Compared to recent trade for All Stars; Jae Crowder,Ante Zizic and presumably a top 7 pick in next years draft is a pretty good haul. Adding Isiah Thomas is a luxury as he'll be splitting time(if/when he comes back from his hip injury) with Derrick Rose. Cavs finally have good depth from top to bottom and are set up for both LeBron staying or leaving.


The Celtics might look better on paper but they have really drifted from the defense first mantra and simply don't have enough scorers to compete in the playoffs. Who's going to be their 3rd 20pt scorer?
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#3 » by Dmoney666 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:14 pm

The Cavaliers did get a pretty nice haul for Irving. Thomas and Crowder will help now and the young kid and Nets FRP will help them later. It was one of the better deals offered.

That said, in my humble opinion, it was foolish to send Irving anywhere in the Eastern Conference. This will probably come back to haunt them.

Boston now has Irving, Horford, and Hayward plus a load of young prospects. They gave up defense in losing Bradley, Crowder, and Amir Johnson but will still be tough to beat. Poetic justice would have Boston eliminate the CAVs in the 2018 playoffs, scoring like 40 ppg.

I don't see how a rotation of Thomas, Rose, and Calderon at point is an upgrade from Irving and D. Williams. All are poor defenders - battling injury.

I would have sent Irving to Phoenix so he was not threat. Bledsoe would have been a better all around player. Any other pieces/picks would have been bonus. Granted, a phoenix deal may not have been this good overall on paper, but I think you also have to look at what Irving can and will do against his old team.
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#4 » by ontnut » Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:53 pm

Dmoney666 wrote:The Cavaliers did get a pretty nice haul for Irving. Thomas and Crowder will help now and the young kid and Nets FRP will help them later. It was one of the better deals offered.

That said, in my humble opinion, it was foolish to send Irving anywhere in the Eastern Conference. This will probably come back to haunt them.

Boston now has Irving, Horford, and Hayward plus a load of young prospects. They gave up defense in losing Bradley, Crowder, and Amir Johnson but will still be tough to beat. Poetic justice would have Boston eliminate the CAVs in the 2018 playoffs, scoring like 40 ppg.

I don't see how a rotation of Thomas, Rose, and Calderon at point is an upgrade from Irving and D. Williams. All are poor defenders - battling injury.

I would have sent Irving to Phoenix so he was not threat. Bledsoe would have been a better all around player. Any other pieces/picks would have been bonus. Granted, a phoenix deal may not have been this good overall on paper, but I think you also have to look at what Irving can and will do against his old team.


The PG position may not have been an upgrade at the top, Kyrie is better than IT, but Deron was garbage, and Rose was at least a decent player last year.

They also nabbed several very useful assets in Crowder, who will be a great switch defender for them, plus Zizic, who is a recent mid-1st pick, plus the BK pick. That's a huge haul for a guy who publicly demanded a trade. The Cavs weren't necessarily looking to upgrade 1 for 1, they now have a few extra desirable assets they can flip or use, depending on what Lebron does. Great trade for the Cavs, the only downside being trading Kyrie to their #1 rival.
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#5 » by Donnyxc » Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:09 pm

Thatmetricsdude wrote:Compared to recent trade for All Stars; Jae Crowder,Ante Zizic and presumably a top 7 pick in next years draft is a pretty good haul. Adding Isiah Thomas is a luxury as he'll be splitting time(if/when he comes back from his hip injury) with Derrick Rose. Cavs finally have good depth from top to bottom and are set up for both LeBron staying or leaving.


The Celtics might look better on paper but they have really drifted from the defense first mantra and simply don't have enough scorers to compete in the playoffs. Who's going to be their 3rd 20pt scorer?


I generally think the Celtics may take a step back in 2018. They will probably make the ECF in a historically bad Eastern Conference. But it will take a year for these guys to learn to play together.

The team made the ECF with only ONE 20 pt scorer. Isaiah.
http://www.espn.com/nba/team/stats/_/name/bos/boston-celtics
People forget Al Horford. Sure he is aging, but he was clutch for the team during the playoffs.

The Celtics have a plethora of offensive options in Kyrie, Hayward, Tatum, Brown , Horford.

This is good for the Cavaliers who are trying to convince LeBron to stay. OR at least make it competitive with LeBron for his potentially final year, while also getting a good return in Zizic and the BKN pick.

I think the BKN pick isn't going to be as good this year though. Lin is healthy, he didn't play last season almost entirely. D Lo is a good developing guard. The East is historically bad, again. The Nets may rack up some wins.

But getting down to it this is mostly about Isaiah's contract, and the Celtics weren't getting a better player than Kyrie on the market. At least not this year for Isaiah.
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#6 » by Thatmetricsdude » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:13 pm

Donnyxc wrote:
Thatmetricsdude wrote:Compared to recent trade for All Stars; Jae Crowder,Ante Zizic and presumably a top 7 pick in next years draft is a pretty good haul. Adding Isiah Thomas is a luxury as he'll be splitting time(if/when he comes back from his hip injury) with Derrick Rose. Cavs finally have good depth from top to bottom and are set up for both LeBron staying or leaving.


The Celtics might look better on paper but they have really drifted from the defense first mantra and simply don't have enough scorers to compete in the playoffs. Who's going to be their 3rd 20pt scorer?


I generally think the Celtics may take a step back in 2018. They will probably make the ECF in a historically bad Eastern Conference. But it will take a year for these guys to learn to play together.

The team made the ECF with only ONE 20 pt scorer. Isaiah.
http://www.espn.com/nba/team/stats/_/name/bos/boston-celtics
People forget Al Horford. Sure he is aging, but he was clutch for the team during the playoffs.

The Celtics have a plethora of offensive options in Kyrie, Hayward, Tatum, Brown , Horford.

This is good for the Cavaliers who are trying to convince LeBron to stay. OR at least make it competitive with LeBron for his potentially final year, while also getting a good return in Zizic and the BKN pick.

I think the BKN pick isn't going to be as good this year though. Lin is healthy, he didn't play last season almost entirely. D Lo is a good developing guard. The East is historically bad, again. The Nets may rack up some wins.

But getting down to it this is mostly about Isaiah's contract, and the Celtics weren't getting a better player than Kyrie on the market. At least not this year for Isaiah.



The Nets pick cannot be as good as last year but the Cavs need young talent. They should be content for a top ten pick next year. I agree that the Celtics have a steep learning curve that most of other people forget is integral to team success.
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#7 » by birdlives_ma » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:17 pm

Thatmetricsdude wrote:Compared to recent trade for All Stars; Jae Crowder,Ante Zizic and presumably a top 7 pick in next years draft is a pretty good haul. Adding Isiah Thomas is a luxury as he'll be splitting time(if/when he comes back from his hip injury) with Derrick Rose. Cavs finally have good depth from top to bottom and are set up for both LeBron staying or leaving.


The Celtics might look better on paper but they have really drifted from the defense first mantra and simply don't have enough scorers to compete in the playoffs. Who's going to be their 3rd 20pt scorer?

The Celtics might look better on paper but they have really drifted from the defense first mantra and simply don't have enough scorers to compete in the playoffs. Who's going to be their 3rd 20pt scorer?[/quote]

Yeah, I defintely had that thought too. I think they're betting on Stevens and his ability to teach team defense. Avery and Jae were definitely linchpins in his schemes, and were both probably top 20 perimeter defenders. But they also needed to be for them to have any chance on that side of the ball, with how bad IT is on that side of the court. Irving's a pretty disinterested defender, but he's at least got the physical tools to check his man when it's important. And bless Isaiah's heart, he tries. But he's truly the most useless defensive player I've ever seen. Guys just go by him like he's not even there, it's awful. Horford's still able to switch everything, so I think their scheme could still work, it'll be interesting to see. They'll need Brown to step in from day one, probably.

As far as their 3rd banana guy, Ainge definitely thinks Tatum is the truth. He's probably not ready but, in a year or 2 I think they'll pass Cleveland, even if Lebron stays.
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#8 » by Thatmetricsdude » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:08 pm

birdlives_ma wrote:
Thatmetricsdude wrote:Compared to recent trade for All Stars; Jae Crowder,Ante Zizic and presumably a top 7 pick in next years draft is a pretty good haul. Adding Isiah Thomas is a luxury as he'll be splitting time(if/when he comes back from his hip injury) with Derrick Rose. Cavs finally have good depth from top to bottom and are set up for both LeBron staying or leaving.


The Celtics might look better on paper but they have really drifted from the defense first mantra and simply don't have enough scorers to compete in the playoffs. Who's going to be their 3rd 20pt scorer?

The Celtics might look better on paper but they have really drifted from the defense first mantra and simply don't have enough scorers to compete in the playoffs. Who's going to be their 3rd 20pt scorer?


Yeah, I defintely had that thought too. I think they're betting on Stevens and his ability to teach team defense. Avery and Jae were definitely linchpins in his schemes, and were both probably top 20 perimeter defenders. But they also needed to be for them to have any chance on that side of the ball, with how bad IT is on that side of the court. Irving's a pretty disinterested defender, but he's at least got the physical tools to check his man when it's important. And bless Isaiah's heart, he tries. But he's truly the most useless defensive player I've ever seen. Guys just go by him like he's not even there, it's awful. Horford's still able to switch everything, so I think their scheme could still work, it'll be interesting to see. They'll need Brown to step in from day one, probably.

As far as their 3rd banana guy, Ainge definitely thinks Tatum is the truth. He's probably not ready but, in a year or 2 I think they'll pass Cleveland, even if Lebron stays.[/quote]

In a year or 2 Boston will presumably also be competing with Philadelphia and Milwaukee as up and coming teams. Even the Wizards should get better as they age in to their prime. The East is way worse than the Western conference for sure but they have quality young teams. I personally don't think LeBron leaves Cleveland but if he does I think he's smart enough to stay in the Eastern Conference.
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#9 » by eddie jerel » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:16 pm

While i respect Authors Grade for Celts,how do they get a B when They lost 20pts and their top D Player? Especially since even IT has gotten better as Pick 60 in '11,while Irving #1 in '11 has regressed.
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#10 » by Donnyxc » Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:30 pm

eddie jerel wrote:While i respect Authors Grade for Celts,how do they get a B when They lost 20pts and their top D Player? Especially since even IT has gotten better as Pick 60 in '11,while Irving #1 in '11 has regressed.

Because while they sacrifice short term, they gain long term.

They don't have to pay a 29 year old guard with a questionable hip max money, they get in return a 25 year old Superstar guard.
The lost 20 pts and Defense are going to be made up by Hayward + a duo of 19 and 20 year old athletes (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown) who honestly deserve those minutes this year. Marcus Smart will also get his minutes, and he's already a proven defensive dog.

Plus we forget Al Horford in all of this. He was money, almost getting triple doubles against the Wizards in the Playoffs:
http://www.nba.com/video/2017/04/30/0041600201-was-bos-horford-hl

Listed out a bit more on the reasoning here:
viewtopic.php?p=58278149#p58278149

But basically, they may take a year to learn how to play together. And will suffer in the short term. But Long term I think the gains are there and the trade makes sense.
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#11 » by spree2kawhi » Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:35 pm

They really should have kept Bradley, but that's another story.
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#12 » by thehumburger » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:15 pm

I can't understand how, after years of being patient and not overpaying just to get any good player, of prioritizing good-attitude team-first guys who fit into a system, of being willing to build long-term in order to keep championship-caliber options open, they decide that Kyrie freaking Erving is THE GUY to end the rebuild with and sell the future for and who will be the one to lead the C's to the promised land. Well guess what, that ain't happening. He's a slight upgrade over IT with a worse attitude. A ball dominant iso scorer in what used to be a pass-heavy team-oriented offense.

I know like any trade there are variables. If IT's hip continues to be a problem and the Nets pick is no better than mid-lottery the trade will look better then (Nets pick is going to be top 3). But IT was better than Irving last year while shouldering more responsibility. There's just as good a chance the C's take a step back this year while having little left to improve the team with going forward. What a depressing way to end what had been one of the better rebuilds in recent memory.
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#13 » by totalrekall » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:02 pm

I really have a hard time seeing why the Celtics had to give up that much. maybe Isaiah's hip is seen as a potentially career limiting injury. getting Kyrie is great bc he's truly a special player but the Cavs needed to move him so they didnt have any leverage other than the next best deal and I doubt anyone was close to the Celtics. whats lost in this is how much the Celtics bailed out the Cavs on luxury tax. that in itself should have had a lot of value.

the Nets should be much better than last season and their pick could likely fall outside the top 10. still the Celtics could have and should have put at least top 3 protection on it for next season. maybe they dont love next yr draft and were ok w/ giving it up. I think trading the pick and Crowder should have been an either-or situation rather than both. maybe the Celtics were genuinely concerned that Isaiah will have hip problems going forward and were just looking to unload him. in that case giving up a 1st rounder and Crowder for Kyrie can be seen as a steal for the C's
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Re: Grading The Deal: Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Brooklyn FRP For Kyrie Irving 

Post#14 » by celticfan42487 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:53 pm

totalrekall wrote:I really have a hard time seeing why the Celtics had to give up that much. maybe Isaiah's hip is seen as a potentially career limiting injury. getting Kyrie is great bc he's truly a special player but the Cavs needed to move him so they didnt have any leverage other than the next best deal and I doubt anyone was close to the Celtics. whats lost in this is how much the Celtics bailed out the Cavs on luxury tax. that in itself should have had a lot of value.

the Nets should be much better than last season and their pick could likely fall outside the top 10. still the Celtics could have and should have put at least top 3 protection on it for next season. maybe they dont love next yr draft and were ok w/ giving it up. I think trading the pick and Crowder should have been an either-or situation rather than both. maybe the Celtics were genuinely concerned that Isaiah will have hip problems going forward and were just looking to unload him. in that case giving up a 1st rounder and Crowder for Kyrie can be seen as a steal for the C's


Well first of the Celtics lost this trade. Part of the context though in the article is true... they were running out of all-stars to trade for.

Secondly, yeah IT is insistent on the max and has been slighted his entire life. For the past couple years he's been speaking of "backing up the Brinks truck" for him. And there's legit concern that if he got a 4 year max offer from the Celtics and from a lottery team. Instead of the Celtics going full max of 5 years they can go, that he would take that as just another sign of disrespect and not resign. Combine that with he'll be 29 with injury concerns... the franchise really didn't want to lock their future into him.

So the Cavs did great, they were in a bad situation but took advantage of Ainge's failures to get Cousins or Butler or Paul George and running out of time to cash in too. The Celtics also saved themselves tax money too as Irving is signed for 2 years instead of one like IT. (not as much as the Cavs but the Celtics owners run small city economics. Last year CLE paid more in lux tax than the Celtics did in their entire 2008-2012 championship runs)

The timing of the trade is important too, because the Pacers probably could have gotten the Nets or Lakers pick if they waited for Hayward to sign. But in the end Ainge can look at the start of this season and the start of last season and say okay with max contract room, IT, and a 2 Nets pick as the foundation, I turned that into an IT for Irving swap, Hayward, #3 this year, and an unknown potential in the LA/SAC pick.

It is not ideal, and he could have done much better. But at least it isn't letting all the ships pass at night. But due to the timing of it all (post Hayward signing with the Celtics) he at least got something for his assets. But obviously he could have done much better and dramatically failed in the Irving trade.
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