Boston has a legitimate claim to saying they “won” the Kyrie Irving trade — they got the best player.
However, this trade was more in line with Celtics’ big kahuna Danny Ainge’s long game aspirations — he wants the Celtics to be the next power in the East as LeBron James fades (or heads West). This trade kept the Cavaliers on top in the East this season (most likely, and if healthy), but in three years anyone would rather have the younger Irving over Isaiah Thomas.
I get into all of this in the latest PBT Extra, and why this trade works for Boston. Now Ainge just needs to add some defense back to the roster after losing Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder this summer.