Enrique Castaneda-Pineda-Sports Editor
In the ultimate power move of the century, Kyrie Irving got traded to the Boston Celtics, but that’s old news now. The real story lies in his reasoning to trade in the first place, its impact on the rest of the league, and what he wants to do with his new team.
It is no surprise for him to leave, in my opinion, as Kyrie is too good of a player to be continuously compared to LeBron, solely because they are on the same team. Hosts often commented that when LeBron did not perform well, it was Kyrie’s job to pick up LeBron’s slack. Meanwhile, when Kyrie didn’t perform to the caliber he normally does, he would be criticised and compared to LeBron’s experience.
The unfair commentary would never have ended if Kyrie remained on a team where the competition was not only against other NBA teams, but against some of his own teammates, too. With moving to Boston, there is not a single person on that team that is even close to being compared to Kyrie.
When LeBron went back to the Cavaliers, he stated, “I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league.” At the time, he was not at the level he is now, but he helped to move the Cavs forward in the 2012-2013 season, as the team had a record of 24-58. In the next season, the team rose up to a 33-49 record, though it was not enough to make playoffs.
Still, he was named Rookie of the Year in his first season, and the following year he joined the All-Star team to become the All-Star game MVP before Lebron’s arrival. It was obvious that Kyrie was becoming a star in his short time in the league, but with LeBron joining the Cavs, that all got wiped away.
After LeBron returned for the 2014-2015 season with the Cavs, there was an apparent change in the team, as they had gone from 33-49 to a positive 53-29 record. The team made the playoffs for the first time since LeBron left in 2010, and even reached the finals before losing to the new and improved Warriors team.
However, as a fan of the NBA, it’s felt as if the last two to three years have made the league a guessing game on whether the Warriors or the Cavs will win the championship this year; that completely changed due to Kyrie’s decision to move to the Celtics
This move has displaced Kyrie as LeBron’s assist machine, his complementary piece that allowed the Cavs to swiftly move through teams. LeBron’s power combined with Kyrie’s swiftness and precise ball handling made it easy to score.
Kyrie’s trade had two major consequences: first for LeBron and second for Isaiah Thomas. Kyrie’s move left LeBron questioning whether he will stay in Cleveland because the reason he went back in the first place is now gone. If LeBron does decide to leave, it puts Isaiah Thomas in the same position he was in Boston, except he’s now in a different city with players he has no chemistry with. For Thomas, this becomes a major setback, as the team will slowly be forced to rebuild itself with two major players leaving. Though he has Jae Crowder, the 2018 and 2020 draft picks may be more important to the organization than it seems right now.
For the Celtics, Kyrie will be the lone man building up the players as he has much more experience in high stress situations. He is the only major player on the team that has made it to the finals and won a championship. At only 25, Kyrie will now have time to grow as a leader, which will earn him even more value as a player in the future.
This process will be a long one, but it already seems as though Kyrie is comfortable where he is now. Hopefully, his efforts will be able to bring the Boston Celtics back to the high caliber team it once was.