Opinion: Revisiting the Cavs/Celtics Trade Almost a Year Later

Since the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics completed their trade to swap point guards last summer, the two teams’ situations have changed drastically.

In exchange for Kyrie Irving, the Cavs received; Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, a 2018 first-round pick acquired from the Brooklyn Nets, and a 2020 second-round pick acquired from the Miami Heat.

The Cavaliers didn’t keep their trade acquisitions long though, trading the players they received a few months later. The team ended up with Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr, Rodney Hood and George Hill from the players they initially received.

Now almost a year later, it’s clear that even with the Cavaliers’ upgrades, the Celtics got the better end of the deal because of the long-term benefits they’ve gotten from it.

At age 32, George Hill is the oldest players the Cavaliers received from the trade, though he wasn’t a part of the original deal. Hill is still an effective player but now that he’s aging, he’s more fit for a bench role than as a starter. Even if Hill can be a floor general off the bench, there’s no telling how long he’s actually going to stay with the Cavs or even in the league.

Hill is more of a short-term role player than he is a serious building block for the Cavaliers, and Larry Nance Jr may be the same.

Although Nance has said repeatedly that he is enjoying playing in Cleveland, where he grew up, Nance is going to be a free agent in 2019. Even if he does enjoy playing for the Cavs as much as he says, Nance is a young player and will likely want to seek out the most successful team possible and the most high-paying contract – neither of which Cleveland can offer.

Jordan Clarkson, the other young player that Cleveland received from the Lakers in the secondary trade, and Rodney Hood, who came from the Utah Jazz could also be lured away from the Cavaliers by more success and money. With LeBron James no longer on their roster, it will be difficult for the team to avoid rebuilding and the young players can find a less difficult situation with another team.

On the Celtics side of the trade, Kyrie Irving seems to be in it for the long run. Although Irving is likely to opt-out of his current contract next offseason, he is just as likely to re-sign with the Celtics and take advantage of the raised salary cap.

Irving played incredibly well for the Celtics last season, up until he was injured. Even with an injury, Irving outperformed Hill, Nance, Clarkson and Hood and will continue to do so in the long run.


Featured Image via Flickr/Erik Drost

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