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DBB on 3: Kyrie Irving to Celtics in blockbuster trade

This isn’t strictly Pistons-related but damn, it’s a hell of a shake up for the East and we have some thoughts.

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

After seeming to never want to really go for it Danny Ainge finally did, and it is pretty crazy and fairly unprecedented. In essence swapping All Star point guards between the two top teams in the East isn’t something that happens every day. But I digress, and will open up the floor to our writers...

The deal:
To Cleveland: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, 2018 Brooklyn Nets first round pick
To Boston: Kyrie Irving

1. Who won the Kyrie trade?

Ben Gulker: Cavs by a mile if Thomas is healthy.

Lazarus Jackson: Celtics win this trade. They replace their scoring point guard that they weren't going to pay with a younger, more physically gifted (read: Taller) scoring point guard that they sound willing to pay (and who sounds willing to stay). Having Marcus Morris makes the loss of Jae Crowder sting less - they couldn't play all those wing guys anyway - and I think Brooklyn will be good enough that their pick won't be top three, which is really all you can ask for. Cleveland gets better this season and sets themselves up decently to rebuild after LeBron and IT leave, but that Brooklyn pick being, say, No. 6 instead of No. 1 will hurt them a lot. Zizic is the wild card - if he's any good, that tilts this trade back to even.

Ryan Pravato: Cavs win this trade. Two starters for one. Plus a young center who is supposed to be pretty good. And another first round pick (Brooklyn's). Wowzers.

Imagine the Cavs "small ball" lineup now with Crowder instead of, say, an Iman Shumpert. Thomas - J.R. Smith - Crowder - LeBron James - Kevin Love/Tristan Thompson.

But let's not feel bad for the Celtics -- they still have tons of depth and got the best player in the deal.

Jacob Kuyvenhoven: Cavs win pretty handily. The extra year of Kyrie is nice versus Thomas going forward, but no way is it worth three years of one of the league's best contracts and a borderline guaranteed top top pick. I'd argue the Cavs made their team better immediately AND going forward, which is insane especially since they had no leverage with everyone knowing Kyrie wanted out. It's mind-boggling how much better this return was than the returns for Jimmy Butler and Paul George. The Cavs got three assets that are all individually better than everything the Pacers and Bulls got for trading their stars.

Justin Lambregtse: The Cavs, and it's not even close IMO. I have never really been all that high on Kyrie. He is a gifted scorer who doesn't really bring that much more to the table, I don't think Isaiah Thomas is that much of a downgrade if he even is. Plus the Cavs get a solid 3 and D wing in Crowder, a solid prospect in Zizic, and a potential top five pick.

Michael Snyder: You can make a solid case for both but I really like the flexibility Cleveland secured moving forward. If LBJ walks at the end of the year, Cleveland should let IT go too and start The Process or at least A Process. If LBJ commits during the season, flip the pick and an expiring Frye for something at the deadline.

Kevin Sawyer: The Cavaliers, by a country mile. Thomas and Irving are very similar players, high-volume, scoring point guards who don't bring much else to the table. Irving is somewhat above average in efficiency (paired with LeBron), while Thomas is one of the most efficient scorers in the league (paired with Al Horford). So that's an upgrade. Oh, and the Cavs also picked up Jae Crowder, one of the best, most versatile wings in the game. He could fit right in at the two or back up LeBron and an aging Kyle Korver as a super-sub. Oh, and he has the best contract in the league through 2020. All this upgrading at multiple positions is hard work, so the Celtics threw in a lottery pick for their troubles. This is Chauncey-for-AI grade.

Sean Corp: Cleveland won, but I'm not on board with everyone raking Boston over the coals for the move. If I'm Boston with that war chest of assets and staring down LeBron in the East and Golden State in the West I have concerns that locking myself into a 29-year-old max contract Isaiah Thomas doesn't really give me a team that can break through. That means I'm sort of treading water as my young draft assets develop. By getting younger with Irving Boston has a more seamless path toward the Horford, Hayward, Irving years into the Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum with Hayward and Irving as your still effective crusty old vets. This doesn't open the window in Boston any wider next season, but it gives them a longer window and keeps them flexible.

Steve Hinson: Man, what an awful trade for the Celtics. They have all the leverage in the discussion and somehow manage to lose their Brooklyn pick out of it? And does Kyrie even make them better? Statistically, Thomas was better than Irving across the board last season. This was the endgame for Danny Ainge? To put together a crappier version of the Cavs to take on the Warriors, who handled them easily in the Finals? They could have had Jimmy Butler AND Paul George without moving the Brooklyn pick. And if they were that worried about the long term situation at point guard, easy solution for that: draft Markelle Fultz! Or one of the other five lottery point guards in the draft. I like Irving and advocated heavily for the Pistons to go after him. But he made much more sense for Detroit than Boston.

David Fernandez: I like this trade for both teams, but I'm a bit higher on it for Cleveland. Not only do they have a more competitive, deeper team following this deal, they also have a bit of insurance moving forward (with the BKN pick and Zizic) should they underperform and not be able to retain LBJ and IT2.

Jamie Delaney: It is WILD to me how many of my fellow writers and NBA Twitter heads think that Cavs won this deal by a mile. Boston won and it ain't even close. First, just from a basic overall team evaluation level, Boston got better and the Cavs got worse. IT is 29, with a hip injury that had Celtic's front office nervous and STILL WANTS A MAX AFTER THIS YEAR. In terms of a rental, it's not the best - not to mention that he plays an offensive style similar, if not more ball dominant, to Irving who just forced his way off the team for feeling like second fiddle. The Nets pick is a nice pick and all but the Cavs don't have an amazing track record of draft and development (minus Kyrie and LeBron, two no brainer #1s). Not to mention that (per Cleaning the Glass) in the 10 drafts from 2003 to 2012, about 30 percent of top 10 picks did not even turn into high-level backups. So statistically speaking, this is not at all the sure thing people are making it out to be. The saving grace and best part of the trade is Crowder who will pair nicely in a front court with Lebron and TT. But that's about it. I think the Cavs got a little worse offensively and shot themselves in the foot defensively presuming they meet the Warriors in the Finals again.

Gabriel Frye-Behar: The Cavs, the Cavs, and... the Cavs. Cleveland somehow: A) saved a HUGE amount of money, B) got arguably the better player in the deal, C) improved their depth and positional flexibility, D) got a potential top lottery pick. And all that for a player who had publicly asked for a trade and undercut their leverage. If Thomas is healthy, Cleveland's rotation is pretty crazy.

2. Does this trade convince LeBron to stay?

Ben Gulker: I'm not convinced he was leaving, but this ought to help.

Lazarus Jackson: Nope. LeBron seems just kinda done with Dan Gilbert's shit, and I cannot blame him at all for it. I don't know where he goes (The Lakers? Back to the Heat? Anywhere he pleases?) but I have the distinct feeling it will not be in Ohio.

Ryan Pravato: Not so sure. I thought everybody knew LeBron is coming to Detroit.

Jacob Kuyvenhoven: I'm more in the 'LeBron is leaving' camp, but this should help his chances of staying at least a little. If the relationship has totally soured I don't think this saves it, but if LeBron was considering leaving because he didn't trust management anymore and didn't like Kyrie, we're getting somewhere with this trade.

Justin Lambregtse: This trade only convinces LeBron to stay if it is enough to beat the Golden State Warriors. I think it gets the Cavs closer, but it still won't be quite enough to beat the Warriors.

Michael Snyder: Only if it leads to a Cleveland championship. Anything less and he's basically in the same spot with or without Kyrie.

Kevin Sawyer: If this doesn't nothing will. Barring injuries or major chemistry issues, the Cavs are a 60 win team with LeBron on cruise control, and a legitimate threat to Golden State. And he'll have a rare opportunity to help inform the decision on who his team should take in the lottery.

Sean Corp: No. I think LeBron is gone. Cleveland inexplicably got worse at point guard defense, and there is a major question about Thomas' health. What if this 5-foot-9 point guard suddenly loses a little athleticism? Also, are we convinced, Tyronn Lue is equipped to get the best out of Thomas as Brad Stevens did? Also, also, what if Thomas chafes at being the clear second fiddle to LeBron? Thomas was a hero in Boston as option No. 1 on offense in a fluid system that shared the ball constantly. That isn't Cleveland's system. And Thomas butted heads with DeMarcus Cousins as both wanted the ball at all times. And the Thomas-Dragic-Bledsoe experiment was a disaster because there was only one ball. LeBron is obviously light years ahead of anyone else mentioned above, but the Thomas we see in Cleveland might not be the Thomas we saw in Boston. And if LeBron leaves Cleveland as predicted it gives the Cavs a reason to completely rebuild so the trade really becomes a Crowder and Nets pick for Irving swap. So even under the worst-case-scenario, it's a great trade for Cleveland because the future looks nearly as good as their present.

Steve Hinson: Yes. Not only do the Cavs reclaim clear superiority in the East with this deal, but LeBron has never played with guys like Thomas and Crowder before - perhaps Ben Wallace, but that was when he was a shell of his prime self. These guys are a couple of the grittier players in the league. At this point in his career, LeBron will love it.

David Fernandez: Keeping a disgruntled Kyrie possibly disrupting team chemistry definitely would not convince LBJ to stay, so simply moving Kyrie is beneficial. If this team makes it back to the Finals, and has a strong showing against GSW, then there's an even stronger chance they'll be able to retain both IT2 and LBJ, with that being said, I think LeBron is gone.

Jamie Delaney: No x 10000. Gilbert is that much of a comic sans clown and Bron is eyeing the retirement plan out west. Zero chance.

Gabriel Frye-Behar: I would think so, but who knows. It's hard to find a team that would give Lebron a better chance to win, so it'll depend a lot on what his goal is.

3. What does this do to the East? Will it help or hurt the Pistons' chances going forward?

Ben Gulker: The Pistons, at best, were waiting out LeBron. Now, they are still waiting out LeBron, and potentially the next Cleveland number one pick. And Kyrie hasn't reached his prime yet. So...yeah. Not great for the Pistons.

Lazarus Jackson: This doesn't affect the Pistons too much - they were always going to be worse than Boston and Cleveland. They stand to gain just as much as anyone else in the East by LeBron leaving, but a younger and better Boston offsets that to some degree.

Ryan Pravato: This season the Pistons have a chance to be competitive in the playoffs, or even win a series, if they avoid the bottom two playoff spots, because it's obvious which teams are finishing first and second. Who knows what happens with Cleveland next season. Pistons just need to worry about themselves for a few years and hopefully their young guys pan out.

Jacob Kuyvenhoven: Boston isn't leaving the East's top four anytime soon either way, so I'll say this trade hurts the Pistons because it's good for the Cavs. What's good for the Cavs is bad for the Pistons. Also, this trade increased the chances of both Kyrie and LeBron staying in the East, which doesn't help the Pistons either.

Justin Lambregtse: This doesn't really change anything in relation to the Pistons. The top two teams in the East swapped talent and will continue to be the top two teams in the East.

Michael Snyder: Cleveland should still be the favorite, so not a whole lot but it certainly makes things more interesting on a soap opera level. Pistons need to worry about the Hornets and Bucks of the world before they start paying attention to Cleveland or Boston.

Kevin Sawyer: This makes the Cavs essentially invincible in the East, but the Pistons aren't headed to the finals this year anyway. I honestly think the Celtics are no longer a playoff lock, and this takes the number of teams that would be unbeatable in the playoffs from two to one, so it helps in that sense. If LeBron does leave, one assumes the Cavs won't resign Thomas, so the field will be wide open next year. If he stays, everyone is screwed.

Sean Corp: This will have absolutely no impact on the Pistons other than the fact that it will give me a reason to root even harder for the Nets to be good. The only team more annoying than Boston with a high lottery pick is the Cavs with a high lottery pick. I think with this move Cleveland is lined up not to completely implode as soon as LeBron leaves, and Boston has extended their contending window, though they still might not have the personnel to be a Finals-level squad. Detroit is a hell of a long way before they have to start worrying about the machinations of top-three seeds, though. We still have to fight Philly and Charlotte to get into the freaking playoffs. I just made myself sad.

Steve Hinson: It won't change the landscape by a ton, but the Cavs did firm up their hold on the East while the Celtics removed themselves from the conversation of Team With The Brightest Future. Unfortunately, the Pistons aren't really relevant enough at this point to have been too impacted by the move. Though it's clear that they wouldn't have been able to get anywhere near the package the Celtics offered.

David Fernandez: This doesn't affect the Pistons this season. Should Cleveland end up blowing it up, with LeBron moving to LA or something (YAY!), then it'll certainly lighten competition in the East. If this were all to go down, a "Big 3" of Horford, Hawyard and Irving is not the most daunting challenge for Detroit, assuming the Pistons look like a competitive team next season.

Jamie Delaney: The already heavy top half of the East balanced out a bit. This doesn't change much for the Pistons outside of making tickets to Boston games that much more appealing.

Gabriel Frye-Behar: The East stays pretty much the same, but with the Cavs probably returning to being head and shoulders above everyone else. I think the Celtics lowered their long term ceiling, I'm not crazy about their last few lottery picks/trades. Unfortunately, neither outcome matters much to Detroit at this point though.


What do you all think? Copy/paste the questions and give us your thoughts below!

1. Who won the Kyrie trade?

2. Does this trade convince LeBron to stay?

3. What does this do to the East? Will it help or hurt the Pistons' chances going forward?