>> Two of the best teams in the NBA are swapping All-Stars in one of the biggest deals of the off season. ESPN first reporting late Tuesday that Cleveland was trading Kyrie Irving to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas. The Cavaliers will also get Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and an unprotected 2018 first round draft pick.
The deal liberates four time All-Star Irving, who spent six years with the Cavs, from the shadow of his titanic teammate LeBron James. Last month ESPN reported Irving was looking to leave, citing sources he no longer wanted to play alongside James. Irving is a prized player, averaging 25.2 points with three years left on his contract and Cleveland didn't let him go cheap.
The Cavs netting 25 year old Celtics star Thomas, one of the NBA's best offensive players. Crowder averaging just under 14 points a game and Zizic, who hasn't actually played a game in the NBA, is touted as a terrific prospect. Boston also gave up a draft pick it took from the Nets in 2013.
One likely to place near the top, because Brooklyn is expected to have, well, another terrible season. While Irving is stepping away from a team that's made three consecutive trips to the NBA finals, he's bringing his formidable talents to a team that placed top seed in the Eastern Conference.
He joins Gordon Hayward, who left Utah in one of the summer's other major trades, as the Celtics retool their roster.