Danny Ainge believes he did what was right for the Boston Celtics when he traded Isaiah Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving.
The trade for Kyrie Irving stripped the Boston Celtics of two of their better players. Isaiah Thomas was the obvious headliner, but Jae Crowder is a piece they’re going to miss, and the Brooklyn Nets pick would’ve served as an exceptional asset. Danny Ainge didn’t care. He knew he was trading a “good” player in Thomas, but he felt that Irving was “great.”
“Both Boston and Cleveland were very aware of who our trading partners were,” said Ainge to Brian Robb of the Boston Sports Journal. “We know Cleveland is our greatest competition in the East right now and we know we are giving them some good players, some good options.
“We felt like we are getting a great one.”
Debating Thomas and Irving is one that won’t ever end. They’re two of the conference’s best point guards and were instrumental to what their teams have accomplished in recent years. On top of that, the numbers are strikingly similar:
- Kyrie Irving: 25.2 points, 5.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 58 percent true shooting
- Isaiah Thomas: 28.9 points, 5.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 62.5 percent true shooting
There are, however, reasons why Ainge would want to part with the heart and soul of his organization. The first is age. Thomas turns 29 this upcoming February and is better for short-term success; Kyrie is three years younger. After that, we have to talk about Thomas’ health. He battled hip problems throughout the postseason last year and that ultimately led to him missing a large part of the Conference Finals.
“Cleveland is getting our best point guard and we are getting their best point guard,” continued Ainge. “It’ll be interesting to see how that all works.”
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