Should Celtics have traded for Jimmy Butler or Paul George over Kyrie Irving?
On August 22nd the NBA realm was taken by storm
when news first broke of Kyrie Irving
being traded to the Boston Celtics.
The Cleveland Cavaliers traded the
four-time All Star to their Eastern Conference rival for a hefty return of
fellow point guard IsaiahThomas, Jae
Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the highly-coveted Brooklyn Nets 2018 unprotected
first round pick.
Of course, this trade is not yet official as the Cavs are trying to obtain additional assets after further evaluating Thomas' hip. But, for the sake of argument, lets assume the trade goes through as originally agreed upon. There’s been a lot of debate on whether this was the right move for the
Celtics. Some people feel strongly that the Celtics gave up way too much and
wonder why they didn’t just trade for Paul
George or Jimmy Butler instead.
While I believe the Celtics did indeed overpay for Kyrie
Irving, this trade is more optimal for the team than the alleged deals
discussed about George and Butler. Although both aforementioned players were
dealt for seemingly below-market value, their respective teams were asking for
at least one Nets pick from the Celtics. That’s because everyone and their mothers
know that Boston has been sitting on a treasure trove of assets for the pat
couple seasons, led by those Brooklyn picks.
Because the Celtics most likely would’ve had to give up a
Nets pick for either Butler or George, I would prefer the Irving trade and
here’s why: Kyrie Irving is only 25 years old and is already a four-time All
Star and Olympic Gold athlete. He’s just entering his prime, has two more years
under team control, and additionally the Celtics believe they can re-sign him
Irving thrilled w/ joining Celtics and they'll have great chance to eventually re-sign him. Boston made deal with strong belief he'll stay.
On the other hand, Paul George has one year remaining on his
current deal and could have been on a team potentially with Jae Crowder, Jaylen
Brown, and Jayson Tatum. That’s a lot of Small Forwards even in “position-less”
basketball. Plus, there is a lot of buzz inside the league that he wants toplay for the Lakers
Jimmy Butler, one of the top two-way players in the league,
would certainly look good in Celtic green. But at the time he was traded the
Celtics still had Avery Bradley, who has a similar style of play to Butler,
albeit to a lesser degree. To be fair, the main reason I prefer the Irving
trade over the discussed Butler deal actually has nothing to do with Butler himself.
It’s actually because of the how the rest of the pieces fall by having Kyrie instead of Butler.
In trading for Kyrie, the Celtics no longer have to make the
tough decision of whether or not to re-sign Isaiah Thomas, nor do they need to
worry about him returning to 100% health from his hip injury. In shipping off
Crowder, young talents Jaylen Brown
and Jayson Tatum now seemingly will
get more playing time, helping move them along the path of development. Again, this is assuming that the trade goes through, regardless of if the Celtics need to sweeten the pot with another future pick. I certainly hope they call the Cavaliers' bluff and refuse to add additional pieces, but time will tell what happens.
So although the Celtics may have overpaid for Irving,
compared to what the Cavs might have gotten from other teams, the move still
puts the Celtics in the position to be a serious contender both now and in the
future. Photo: Jason Miller / Getty Images