If you are a true
Celtics fan than there is no way you liked this deal on first blush (Yes,
I'm saying if you liked this deal right off the bat your not a true
Celtics fan;). Isaiah was not just the best player we have seen on the
Celtics since the second Big Three, but he was also the most clutch and
entertaining player we had seen in a long time as well.
Ainge has long been
criticized for refusing to make a deal unless it is a steal, and hording
assets like a squirrel with glue on his nuts. "Well, it presented
itself. It wasn’t available earlier in the summer, this same
opportunity. These are very difficult decisions, as you can imagine. We
face these difficult decisions at all times during the year. You never
know when something may present itself," Ainge said. "But an
opportunity for us presented itself, even though it is a high price tag.
It is a great value that we’re giving up. We love Isaiah and love Jae
Crowder, and we’re just getting to know Ante Zizic, who we’ve watched
and nurtured over the last year, and given up a quality 1st-round pick.
But acquiring a 25-year-old perennial All-Star, a player that fits a
timeline for us and is a fantastic offensive player. One of the best
offensive players in the league. You have to pay a heavy price."
Isaiah was a better
player than Kyrie last season. But something kept nagging me about this
trade. Isaiah was a superstar last season and Kyrie wasn't. He was the
clear and present number two on the Cavs to LaBron. Isaiah was the clear
and present force that forced the Celtics into the best record in the
East, and the Eastern Conference finals. Once Isaiah's injury made him
just a normal guy, the entire team fell apart in a 50-point loss.
guys was tough, but Isaiah had just an amazing season this year and
entertained us all, the whole city of Boston," Ainge said. "And
everybody fell in love with him. He’s such an underdog because of his
size and his heart and his spirit in which he plays. And it was very
challenging to make this decision."
My worry was Kyrie's
ability to spread the ball around. Isaiah was not just a top scorer in the
League last season (3rd overall), he was also a true point guard who set
up his teammates and had more assists than Kyrie. LaBron was the true PG
on the Cavs last season. Isaiah averaged 6.3 APG in the Playoffs, while
Kyrie only had 4.7.But both players had their career highs in assists in 2014. Kyrie
averaged a tick more (6.3 APG) than Isaiah (6.1). Last season they were
virtually identical in assist (5.8 to 5.9). So I was wrong about Kyrie's
ability to play the point.
But Isaiah wasn't the
only player in this deal. "This has obviously been a roller coaster
of a day for us, trading away Isaiah and Jae and Ante," Ainge said.
"Especially Isaiah and Jae, who have been such a big part of our team
and our success and our Celtic culture as leaders of our team. Very, very
difficult day. At the same time, a very exciting time, [We have acquired]
one of the best offensive players in the league."
So what gives? The
Celtics switched very comparable players, but the Celtics also threw in
Crowder, who doesn't get enough credit for what he brought to the Celtics.
Zizic, who seemed to get better with every Summer League game (though he
looked terrible in the first one;). And a possible Franchise changing Nets
pick. Which could turn into a big who can rebound, and run the floor and
defend smaller guys like Anthony Davis.
"First of all,
we’ve offered 1st-round picks of this caliber for a handful of
players," Ainge said. "A few players, at least, in the past. The
trades just didn’t go through. But Kyrie is unique. And I think that
this was just a trade that we wanted to do that we felt was best for us at
trade makes Cleveland a better team next season. Plus, the Nets pick gives
them a head start on the reboot, when LaBron takes off to LA-LA Land after
next season to make his wife happy. Plus, the Celtics had to give up the
most clutch and exciting player I have watched on the Celtics since Larry
Bird. Granted, it was only for one season. But what a Season! On first
blush it was impossible to like this deal.
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