After years of making win-now moves, the Cleveland Cavaliers began straddling the line between immediate contention and considering the future; a must, given Irving’s messy trade request last month and the threat of LeBron James’s pending free agency .
In beginning to walk that tightrope, the Cavs effectively switched places with the Boston Celtics, who, until now, had been stingy with future assets, wanting to win the East while also playing the long game.
And Cleveland had to thread the needle here by not only getting a good, if not great, player to replace a chunk of Irving’s impact, but also landing something for the future in case James bolts next summer.
That’s paramount, since Golden State might be more difficult to guard than any team in league history, given all the weapons they boast, and the highly unusual way they use off-ball screens to spring shooters open.
Should the Cavaliers get out to a hot start amid these changes, they could opt to go all-in to take greater aim at the Warriors by dangling the Nets’ pick in hopes of landing a player like DeMarcus Cousins .
- Bulpett: With Kyrie Irving, Celtics now see themselves as NBA Finals-worthyBoston Herald
- Cavaliers send Kyrie Irving to Celtics in deal including Isaiah Thomas, Nets ...ESPN
- Celtics roster turnover continues with Kyrie Irving tradeESPN
- Winners & losers: Kyrie Irving to Celtics; Cavaliers snag Isaiah Thomas, Nets pickCBSSports.com
- Winners, losers in the Kyrie Irving trade to BostonYahoo Sports
- His future, his terms: How the Celtics granted Kyrie Irving's wishYahoo Sports
- Koby Altman's Magic Act Lets LeBron Know There's Life After KyrieSports Illustrated
- NBA's Cavs, Celtics swap star players Irving, ThomasFox News
- Tuesday's Sports in BriefCharlotte Observer