With Kyrie Irving in Boston and Isaiah Thomas in Cleveland, The East is Now Way More Exciting

Kyle Koster

The Boston Celtics have traded Isaiah ThomasJae CrowderAnte Zizic, and rights to the 2018 Brooklyn Nets draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reports. The blockbuster adds a mountain of intrigue to the Eastern Conference title chase and comes after a very public spat between Irving and LeBron James.

The Celtics get better immediately and the Cavaliers get — on paper at least — some semblance of a roadmap leading to a longterm future that includes James’ services. Thomas, for all his greatness, is still a small downgrade from Irving.

But the Cavs’ decision to trade with the second-best team in their conference reflects how dire and urgent they perceived the situation to be. Taking that into consideration, it’s a decent but not ideal return for their departing star.

The East just got way more interesting — and competitive — at the top. Fittingly, these two teams square off in the season opener. Have popcorn at the ready.