Kyrie Irving is off to the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers got quite a haul in return for his services. But apparently, the deal could have been done weeks ago, if not for Boston’s hesitation to ship away a key piece to the future.
The Cavs desperately wanted the Celtics to include rookie Jayson Tatum in the trade, but they stood their ground and were able to keep him. The Vertical’s Shams Charania reported that Cleveland coveted Tatum but weren’t able to pry him away in the end:
"“The big discussion point with Boston and Cleveland over the past several weeks on a potential deal has always been about Jayson Tatum’s involvement. The Cavaliers coveted him greatly. I think if Tatum was involved first day these talks kind of transpired, this deal would have been done a while ago."
"Boston held firm. Him, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, these guys are the future for the Celtics.”"
In the end, as I’ve said, the Cavs got a great haul in exchange for Irving. It’s a little shocking that Boston was willing to give up the Brooklyn Nets first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, but was adamant about holding on to Tatum. I like Tatum, he’s a really nice player, but that Nets pick is almost certain to be in the top five next year and that draft class is loaded at the top. I guess it’s just a matter of preference.
Still, the Cavs wound up with an All-Star (Isaiah Thomas), an affordable, versatile, tough wing (Jae Crowder), a 20-year-old center prospect (Ante Zizic) and Brooklyn’s 2018 first-rounder. All of that came back in return for a discontented Kyrie Irving. I’ll take that trade any day of the week.