The Cleveland Cavaliers traded away Kyrie Irving on Aug. 31, 2017.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are days away from the fifth anniversary of Kyrie Irving’s last day as a Cleveland Cavalier. He was traded to the Boston Celtics on Aug. 31, 2017, in a trade that saw the Cavs get point guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center man Ante Zizic and a first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft that eventually became Collin Sexton.
The Celtics had also acquired Gordon Hayward in the same offseason and had a team that included a young(er) Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Irving and Hayward joined a team that also included vets like Marcus Smart, Al Horford, and Marcus Morris.
Yet, despite all that talent, the team only had two years together before Irving went off to join Brooklyn with Kevin Durant.
The Cavs didn’t fair too much better, with Thomas and Channing Frye eventually being shipped to the Lakers just months later for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr, while Crowder got shipped to Utah for Rodney Hood.
As for Zizic, he eventually left the NBA. That leaves just Sexton being the loan remnant from that team.
Did the Cleveland Cavaliers win the Kyrie Irving trade?
It’s hard to say if the Cleveland Cavaliers won the Kyrie Irving trade-off of the initial packages. After all, the Cavs lost the NBA finals after making those flurry of trades, and then haven’t been back to the playoffs ever since. The Celtics on the other hand have gone back to the playoffs, but they have nothing to show for their trade of Irving.
He left in free agency, not exactly able to recoup anything. Yet, if you follow the trade tree, you’d realize that the Irving trade set up this core of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There’s a complicated and time-consuming data tree (link here) but basically, Irving, and a plethora of trades later, netted the Cavs Jarrett Allen, Ricky Rubio, Dylan Windler, and of course Sexton.
How? Well, Clarkson got traded to Utah for Dante Exum, Exum was traded to Houston in the trade that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, while sending Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen to the Cavaliers. Prince then got dealt to the Timberwolves for Ricky Rubio.
Windler was a byproduct of the Cavs trading Hood away, while the team also got a 2022 Draft Pick from the Clarkson trade that became rookie Khalifa Diop, while the team still has a 20224 Draft Pick.
Due to the Cavs having anything still from that trade, let alone guys like Sexton, Allen, and Rubio, it’s clear the Cavs won the trade. Even if it took a few years for it to manifest.