Isaiah Thomas got traded along with Jae Crowder and the Brooklyn pick for Kyrie Irving. The trade comes as a bit of a shock to me, considering that Cleveland is now trading its second best player to its closest conference contender, but at the same time they’re falling apart by the minute. I think Boston honestly comes out the better team, without the salary issues that come with keeping IT4 and debating whether to give him a max deal. Irving is even a better overall player than Thomas. Crowder is a decent at best player whose best attribute was his team-friendly salary. Brooklyn is finally improving, and has the potential to be a much higher lottery pick rather than first overall like last year.
But to my main point: Thomas was the heart and soul of this team. He’s the reason Horford and Hayward signed in Boston. He was the iron-balls champion of the fourth quarter. He is the singular reason why the Celtics’ rebuilding process ended up lasting one season before they were able to reach the postseason again. To be traded away now that they’re on the cusp of beating Cleveland really sucks.
To be clear: Irving is a better all-around player. He has demonstrated that he has the ability to be clutch, and is a better point guard (which works better now with Hayward) who can still score if he has to. The Celtics are definitely better now, especially defensively. But Thomas was the Celtics, and to see him go like this is shameful after all he’s done to bring Boston basketball back.