This summer will surely be remembered in the NBA for many years. After a lot of drama and countless discussions Kyrie Irving was eventually traded to the Boston Celtics. In return, the big start of Boston, during the last years, is moving to Cleveland together with Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic. The Brooklyn Nets’ first-round draft pick in 2018 was also included in the deal.
Some days ago, the agreement became official and Kyrie Irving did his first statements as a Boston Celtics player side by side with Gordon Hayward. On the other side, Isiah Thomas appeared to be ready for the new challenge in his career, without hiding though the fact that he wanted to continue playing for Boston.
Now that all the pieces are coming together, it’s time to ask the real question. Is the East changing? It’s tough to say with certainty. I guess it depends on what we mean by changing. In any case, let’s try to analyze both perspectives:
Hell yeah, it is!
On the one side, there those who believe that the Eastern Conference won’t be the same after this ground-breaking trade. I will, partially, agree with them. Yes, the Cavs have remained strong and Lebron will be there for one more year fighting against everyone and everything that comes his way. But Boston seems to be more ready and dedicated to challenge Cleveland. Kyrie, Hayward and Horford can create a powerful trio that adds experience and incredible talent to the Celtics. This doesn’t mean that Isiah Thomas wasn’t good enough. To the contrary, Thomas was the soul of Celtics during the last years and this may become apparent as the season progresses. Nevertheless, Irving is bringing with him a new X-factor to the Boston’s game.
Don’t Miss Out: A Tribute To NBA’s Dominant Giant
As far as the Cavs are concerned, they lost one of the main pillars of their game. The remarkable scoring skills of Kyrie Irving are almost impossible to find. Even when his successor is a player like Isiah Thomas, it’s hard to be sure that Cleveland will be able to make a smooth transition to the new Irving-less era. The injury of Thomas can make things even worse for Lebron’s team. If we also take into account, the endless speculations around James’s future, it becomes clear easily that Cleveland has many obstacles to overcome in order for the team to remain focused.
And a last parameter that should never be ignored in sports is the ‘thirst to win’. Do the Cavs have the same incentive as the Celtics or will they appear a bit more lazy in their Eastern Conference adventures? That’s hard to say, even though a team with Lebron as its captain is impossible to lack the passion for winning!
No, it really isn’t!
On the other side, the Eastern Conference might not be that different after all. Lebron James is still in the building and this means that the Cleveland Cavaliers will again be very dangerous for every opponent both in East and West. On top of that, Isiah Thomas is anticipated to play a significant role in the next season as soon as he overcomes his injury. Thomas could have an active role in almost every NBA franchise and we can only expect him to play better next to the best player in the world. What is more, the Cavaliers managed to become a bit tougher with Jae Crowder in the team. If we also consider that, there are players like Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson in the roster, we can safely claim that the Cavs will be one of the strongest teams next year, as well.
Regarding the Celtics, it’s true that they have put together a very interesting and fun-to-watch team. However, the team is extremely new and nobody can be sure yet that the recipe will work. Irving, Hayward and Horford will totally need some time in order to learn each other’s game and find out how they can take the best out of their teammates. Furthermore, Boston lost this year its toughness by seeing Thomas and Crowder joining the Cavs. In other words, the team has to adjust to a new game approach and this can take a lot of effort and difficult nights against phenomenally worse opponents.
Last but definitely not least, we should not underestimate the pressure that is suddenly built around Boston. The fans and the whole organisation want results and they want them right now. Especially Kyrie Irving has to perform the best basketball of his career in order to prove that he did the right choice by moving away from Cleveland. If he manages to do that, then the Celtics will have a great season. Otherwise, things might get complicated!
A Last Word
It’s hard to say right now if the Cavaliers or the Celtics are the big winners of this trade. In the long-term, the most possible scenario is that Boston made a great choice and has the opportunity to build a great team around its new captain. Nonetheless, everyone is judged on court and we can’t say that the Cavs will be an easy prey for anyone. Especially when Lebron is still its leader. In any case, a great season is about to begin and for the first time after a few years, the Eastern Conference got game!
Featured Image: Sbnation.com