Phelps: Celtics Got Better With Kyrie, Thomas Will Be Great If Healthy; A Win For Both Sides

Thoughts on the Cavaliers trade with Boston, sending Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets unprotected first round pick in 2018:

1.  I never like a trade where my team gives up the best guy in a deal.  If the Cavs were indeed going to trade Kyrie Irving, it was unlikely a deal could have been made any other way.

2.  My reasoning why the Celtics would never beat the Cavs in the last years’ Eastern Conference Finals – their best player was 5’9”. In Cleveland, Thomas won’t be the best player.  Maybe not the second best player, and possibly the third.  He’ll flourish playing with LeBron James — if he’s healthy.  He injured his hip in the Eastern Finals against the Cavs,and missed Games 3, 4 and 5. Is he healthy?  He’s also a free agent at the end of the season.  But the guy can flat out put the ball in the basket, scoring 28.9 points a game last season.

3. Never been a huge Jae Crowder fan, mainly because I thought he’d be better coming off the bench, and the Celtics had to start him.  He’ll be a terrific rotation player in Cleveland – he can score, shoot, pass and DEFEND. Crowder is a tough, tough defender. He’s also under contract for three more years, with a high salary of $7.8 million.  Very reasonable deal for the Cavs to absorb.

4.  Thomas, Crowder — sure, I get it.  For this deal to be a great one for the Cavaliers, Ante Zizic will have to reach to potential he showed while playing in Europe.  Do a Google search and look at some highlights — you’ll be impressed.  He’s 6’11, 254 pounds, can run the floor, dribble the ball, and shoot.  And he’s 20-years-old.  May I repeat, he’s 20-years-old, and an NBA rookie. Zizic could be the key to the entire trade, taking it from a good deal to a great deal for the Cavs, if he’s the real deal, and unless…

5. ….. the Cavs hit it deep with the Brooklyn Nets unprotected  first round pick in 2018. It’s been the Celtics most prized asset for years, and is without question the key to the deal for the Cavaliers. However, hitting it deep doesn’t necessarily mean taking a player with that pick in the 2018 draft, and it could become the #1 overall pick – the Nets are lousy on a good day.  After hearing details of the trade, I immediately thought of trading the pick for help now.  Big time help.  Franchise changing help for years to come.  Think of disgruntled star players on teams that could use a rebuild.

6. Have I yet mentioned how much I enjoy watching Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks play basketball? Yep, sure like watching him play. Almost as much as I like watching DeMarcus Cousins. Just throwing names out there. When you possess a sure fire lottery pick – and perhaps the number one overall pick – and have a roster that’s now overflowing with talent, a lot of things are possible, stay tuned.

7.  The Celtics are going to be very good….  in about three years.  Yes, they now have Kyrie.  And Gordon Hayward. But they no longer have Thomas, Crowder, Avery Bradley, and their most valuable asset. Their young wing players are talented, and did I mention they’re young?  The Celtics will be lucky to reach the Eastern Conference Finals anytime soon.

8.  The Cavs are deep. Really deep.

9.  The Cavs starting five – LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Isaiah Thomas, JR Smith. Or something like that.

10. Key rotation players off the bench – Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose, Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, Jeff Green. That’s 12 guys total. You can’t play that many. But wait!

11. Other pieces, mostly young, to develop for now and beyond – Ante Zizic, Cedi Osman, Edy Tavares.  That’s 15 guys total. Hang on!

12. Don’t forget Jose Calderon and Kay Felder.  17 guys.  More moves are on the way.

13.  To sum things up, a tweet from my pal Sam Amico, from, and Fox Sports Ohio:

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