adidas ladies shoes hip add more intrigue to Irving deal
The Kyrie Irving trade is one of the most complicated blockbuster transactions I can recall.
There’s the emotional component (he hit the most important shot in Cavs history), the basketball component (he’s a 25 year old top 12 player), the contractual component (a bargain, at two years and $39 million remaining), the other emotional component (by pretty much every account, he’s an odd, moody dude) and the LeBron component (if you can’t get along with The King, you have to leave).
When word first broke Tuesday night that the Cavs were on the verge of trading Irving to Boston, I initially thought dealing the four time All Star for Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder was ludicrous.
But then it became apparent that the Cavs were also going to land the one draft pick with which it seemed Danny Ainge would never part Brooklyn’s top choice in 2018.
My opinion changed. Heck, I even believe it can be a win win deal for the two best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Still, there are a couple of factors I can’t stop thinking about from the Cavs’ perspective: Thomas’ hip and his contract.
Two comments from Ainge after the deal was announced were illuminating in that regard.
When he was asked how much of a factor Thomas’ hip injury was in the trade, the Celtics president of basketball operations said, “Um, some. There’s going to be probably a little bit of a delay for Isaiah as he starts the season this year. I think that Isaiah should be fine and healthy as the season goes along.”
Thomas initially injured the hip in mid March, and he reaggravated the ailment against the Wizards in Game 6 of the East semis. He went on to tally 29 points and 12 assists in an incredible Game 7 performance, but he was a non factor before getting shut down against the Cavs in Game 2 of the East finals.
Even if the 2017 18 version of Thomas is half as good as last season, the All Star will be underpaid. Prior to the 2014 15 season, in a rare stroke of brilliance by the Kings, Sacramento got Thomas in a sign and trade deal with Phoenix.
The Kings gave him a four year, $27 million contract, which featured salaries that decline each year to $6,261,395 in 2017 18. (Sacramento went back to its bad habits by trading Thomas in a 2016 deal that included a Cavs first round pick.)
Next summer, Thomas barring a terrible year is going to want to get a max deal, or close to it.
At that point, he’ll be entering his age 30 season, and 5 foot 9 guards who rely on their speed and get to the basket a ton aren’t expected to age gracefully.
That leads us back to Ainge, who, when asked about Thomas looking for a max deal in 2018, said,
“Contracts do play a part in trades. No question.”
Friday, The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd included this whopper of a paragraph in an interesting story about the deal:
The fact team officials are quietly downplaying Thomas’ involvement in the trade is curious since he is widely regarded as the headliner in the deal. But no one is certain yet what condition his injured right hip is in, and it’s fair to wonder if the injury will sap any of his trademark explosiveness. This is strictly speculation, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising if the Cavs tried to flip Thomas elsewhere before the start of the season.
The glass half full outlook is that the Celtics, prior to the deal even becoming a possibility, said that they expected Thomas to fully recover from the hip injury, though he might miss some time at the start of the season. And the Cavs don’t need him in October. They need him in April, May and June.
Also important: Thomas doesn’t have to be the Cavs’ best player, a role he so capably filled for the Celtics. He doesn’t even have to be their second best.
If he’s anything close to as good as he was in 2016 17, his addition, coupled with Crowder and whatever the Cavs decide to do with the Nets pick, would seem to be a pretty good haul for a player the rest of the NBA knew the Cavs were eager to deal.
But the concerns with Thomas seem to be pretty prevalent and we probably shouldn’t be surprised with any route the Cavs decide to take (whether it’s re signing him in 2018 or dealing him, as Lloyd suggested).
There’s also this: In the last two postseasons, Thomas’ field goal percentages were 39.5 and 42.5 down from 42.8 and 46.3, respectively, in the regular seasons. His 3 point percentages were 28.3 and 33.3 compared to 35.9 and 37.9 in the regular season.
Irving’s shooting, meanwhile, was BETTER in the playoffs 47.5% and 46.8% in 2016 and ’17, respectively, compared to 44.8 and 47.3 in the regular season. The guard made 44% and 37.3% of his 3s in the last two postseasons, which, when combined, was an improvement from his 32.1% and 40.1% figures in the regular season.
The obvious counterpoint to that is the Cavs aren’t getting just Thomas for Irving. They’re receiving quite a bit more, in fact.
The Nets pick might be the gem of the deal one that can be dealt for another star or used to pick up the pieces after a second LeBron exit.
We still believe Koby Altman did about as well as he could have under the circumstances.
But the concerns over Thomas have added an uneasiness to a trade we’ll still be breaking down a decade from now.
New Cavs jerseysOne of the lesser, but still interesting, subplots from the Irving trade is that even though the Cavs introduced the first two sets of their new uniforms earlier this month, the Nike apparel isn’t yet available for sale on the Cavs’ online and in arena team shops.
Thus, there are no Cavs fans who spent triple figures on a jersey featuring Irving’s name and the redesigned white and wine looks. (The team will have four uniform sets this season, with the other two color schemes to be revealed closer to the start of the season.)