The Cavaliers are trading Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick and… a 2020 second-round pick.
After Thomas’ physical caused concern in Cleveland, Boston – rather than seeing the deal voided – improved its offer.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:
The Heat’s 2020 second-rounder seems minor after five days of delay on this landscape-altering trade, but it allows the Cavs to save face after causing such a stink. To be fair, the pick also gives the Cavaliers a little more value after accepting great-than-expected injury risk with Thomas.
Not that they needed extra value.
This was already a haul for Cleveland – the type of deal that immediately instills faith in new general manager Koby Altman and turns the tide toward LeBron James re-signing next summer (though not necessarily far enough). Thomas is arguably (I’d say, nearly) as good as Irving right now, and Thomas’ expiring contract allows the Cavs to walk away if injuries catch up to him. Crowder is the type of 3-and-D wing Cleveland badly needed to matchup with the Warriors. Plus, he’s on a very team-friendly contract for three more years. Zizic, a rookie, is a decent long-term prospect. Most of all, that Brooklyn pick might land another franchise player – or could be flipped for help while LeBron still has Cleveland’s championship window propped open.
Boston gets one of the youngest stars ever to change teams, surely a motivator as the Cavaliers played hardball. The Celtics clearly covet Irving.
Now, finally, they have him.
But with these teams poised to compete for Eastern Conference supremacy this season – and for years to come if LeBron stays in Cleveland – the fun is just beginning.
Andre Drummond is thriving.
The Pistons are not.
With Drummond headed toward free agency, that leaves major questions for Detroit. Should the 4-10 Pistons hope better health – especially for Blake Griffin – allows them to get back on track this season? Should they keep Drummond and attempt to re-sign him as a key player future seasons? Should they trade him to get value now?
Drummond’s market – both for a trade or in free agency – is somewhat limited. The NBA is overstocked with capable centers. His game, built mostly on rebounding, trends toward old-school. Drummond is better than most players of his ilk. The question is about cost.
But at least one team outside Detroit is apparently interested – Charlotte.
Sean Deveney of Heavy:
The target, according to league sources: Pistons big man Andre Drummond, a player in whom the Hornets have had an interest for at least a year.
Charlotte projects to have about $27 million in cap space next summer. That might be enough to lure Drummond with a multi-year deal.
But Drummond’s player option for next season he said he plans to decline is worth $28,751,774.
So, it might make sense to trade for Drummond now to secure his Bird Rights. That way, the Hornets could exceed the cap to re-sign him.
They’d also get an upgrade at center over Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo this season. Charlotte (6-9) is in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Even with Drummond, I wouldn’t pick the Hornets as likely to make the postseason, but that’s the type of low-level goal they often prioritize.
Charlotte has expiring contracts to facilitate a trade – Biyombo, Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Hornets would also have to surrender assets that tempt Detroit (draft picks and/or young players).
There’s a path to a satisfactory trade… if the Pistons are open to dealing Drummond.
DeMarcus Cousins got married this past summer, but his 7-year-old son didn’t attend the wedding due to a dispute with the boy’s mother and Cousin’s ex-girlfriend, Christy West. That blew up into an ugly situation where Cousins was ultimately charged in Alabama with a third-degree harassing communications misdemeanor, tied to the domestic situation.
Now, those charges have been dismissed, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Cousins remains out for the Lakers after tearing his ACL this past summer, and he is not expected to return. Because of the surprisingly good play of Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee — particularly as mobile defenders who can show out on the perimeter and recover — the Lakers have not missed Cousins’ presence.
I have no specific knowledge of this case or the truth of what happened between Cousins and his ex. As far as I know, there was nothing to this and should have been dismissed.
However, as someone who spent a chunk of years on a police/courts beat as a young reporter, I feel the need to add this: Domestic violence/harassment cases are exceedingly difficult to prosecute. It can be a he said/she said situation, and unfortunately, often the abused women recant their testimony (whether it was true or not). The situations are a complex mix of emotions and fear, ones that make getting justice difficult. Talk to any prosecutor (or long-time police beat officer) about domestic violence cases and they will tell you horrifying stories. It is a situation that, as a nation, we need to address.
The Wizards are entertaining in their own special way.
Washington games have averaged 241 points this season (120 for the Wizards, 121 for their opponents). That’s the highest mark in nearly two decades. The 1990-91 Nuggets scored 120 while allowing 131 points per game.
But Washington rarely gets nationally televised games.
On the other hand, Sierra Canyon School – which features Bronny James (son of LeBron James) and Zaire Wade (son of Dwyane Wade) – will have plenty of nationally televised games. That drew the attention of at least one Wizard.
Of course, the Wizards aren’t alone in getting less national exposure than Bronny and Zaire. On the latest, “Off the Dribble,” Jacques Slade gets into all the NBA teams and stars on national television less often than Sierra Canyon. (For more, watch the video above where Slade also gets into Carmelo Anthony’s Blazers debut.)
The good news: Wizards games can still be found on NBC Sports Washington.
Kyrie Irving, if he gets healthy, will return to Boston with the Nets on Wednesday.
How will he be received?
Celtics president Danny Ainge said he doesn’t handle game operations, but if it were up to him, Irving would get a tribute video. It was pointed out fans would boo throughout the video.
Ainge on 98.5 The Sports Hub, via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston:
“I understand all that. I just think it’s a bad conclusion to come to. It’s not really fair.”
“I think that’s a sad commentary,” Ainge said. “But I understand it just because I know there’s been a lot of negative attention.”
“It was a very good situation with Kyrie,” Ainge said. “Kyrie was in a good place, and things were looking good for a year and a half and they went sour.
“… He gets blamed for a lot of the sour of last year, and I just think it’s much, much bigger than that. So, I don’t have any grudges against Kyrie. I’m grateful that he gave us a chance and it didn’t work out. It wasn’t his fault things didn’t work out. It was a lot of people’s fault, including my own.”
Boston fans should boo the hell out of Kyrie Irving. He pledged to re-sign, brooded through last season, self–destructed at the end then left.
There might have been legitimate personal stressors in his life. We can still have compassion for Irving as a human being.
But as a character in the NBA’s great drama, he is absolutely a villain in Boston.
Celtics fans should get at least a night to treat him accordingly.