Sports
NBA Trade Deadline Rejuvenates NBA’s Lifeline

Article by Christian Pierce

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Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer;Ga.com

From battling it out at the TD Garden and Quicken Loans Arena, to playing each other in the Eastern Conference Finals just one year ago, Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving have been through a rollercoaster of an off-season.

On August 22nd, 2017, the Boston Celtics made a meaty trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. When this trade was announced, it was a blockbuster of events that left everyone in shock. Kyrie Irving would be making a flight to Boston to find his new home while  Isaiah Thomas would be en route to Cleveland.  This would flip Thomas’s and Irving’s, lives upside down.

How are Irving and Thomas doing now on their new teams, you ask? Thomas hasn’t fared so well. He was just traded to the Los Angeles Lakers at the trade deadline.

The Cavs have faced a series of challenges this season. Sometimes they look like the best in the league and other times they’re just hard to watch.

This Cavaliers team is one of the oldest in the league. Adding the younger Thomas was supposed to help, but the Cavs still faced difficulties. Thomas is a very talented shooter, ball handler, and finisher, and a Lebron James/Thomas combo sounded like the ultimate pairing. Nevertheless, the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t known for playing defense. Adding Thomas to this roster exposed the Cavs defensively. Thomas is a 5’9 guard who does the best he can on defense, but he could only do so much when guarding someone who is four to five inches taller than him.

The Cavalier Offense was another story. Lebron James, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, Dwyane Wade (also traded at the trade deadline), and Kevin Love, could have been lethal. However, adding Thomas to that mix made it difficult to satisfy this groups shooting egos.  Cav’s fans began to lose faith in him and started to blame their team’s struggles on Thomas himself.

 

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Photo Credit: Tony Dejak/Associated Press;chicago.suntimes.com

When in Boston, Thomas, carried his team and did most of the scoring. This Cavs team had good names on paper and lots of potential, but it was uncertain that Thomas could help lead this Cavs team to another NBA Finals.

The Eastern Conference is stronger this year, but a team that could possibly knock off the Cavaliers before they get out of the Eastern Conference in the playoffs is the Boston Celtics. Cleveland’s current record is 33-22, and they are 3rd in the Eastern Conference.

The first half of the 2018 regular season is coming to an end soon. So far this trade has worked more to the Celtics benefit and has made them possible finals contenders. With their new star Kyrie Irving at the helm, the Celtics are still in the hunt for a championship.

In the first game of the season, the Celtics lost one of their new key players, Gordon Hayward, to a devastating ankle injury which sidelined him for the season. People are now doubting Kyrie and the Celtics after the loss of Hayward. The Celtics are loaded with talent starting with their new floor general Kyrie Irving. The rest of the team includes Marcus Smart, 19 year old Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Al Horford, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown plus a superb bench. The Celtics are second place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 40-18. This team has what it takes to get to the NBA finals.

The Celtics have had ups and downs this season. Every NBA team deals with this during an 82 game season. Adding Irving to the team has given the Celtics a taller and better defender. Irving is one of the best ball handlers in the league, a good shooter, and he’s a phenomenal finisher around the rim. With one of the top five point guards in the league, standing still at the trade deadline, and having good team chemistry, the Celtics will continue to have a good season and have a good chance to make a Finals run for the first time in eight years!

These trades left a dramatic effect on both of these franchises. One of these teams will come up on the top of the Eastern Conference. It will quite possibly be Kyrie Irving and the Celtics for the first time since the Paul Pierce era.

 

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