Following the news of the blockbuster trade taking Kyrie Irving to Boston from Cleveland, Adam Baylis looks at the impact on the upcoming season and Ross White gives the view from the trading floor...
"Irving’s benefit to the Celtics on the other hand needs little explanation, he’s an All-Star lock every year and at the tender age of 25 is still yet to reach the peak of his powers."
A trade saga that has been weeks, if not months in the making has finally come to a close, culminating in the first in NBA history involving players who met in the previous year's NBA Conference Finals. Perhaps the key point however is that both Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas will still be playing in the Eastern Conference in the upcoming season - the league simply couldn't afford another high-profile defection to the West.
LeBron James moved quickly to wish his former teammate well in the move but we won't have to wait long to see if there's any remaining animosity with the Celtics starting their season in Cleveland on October 17th.
Who's the real winner?
The Irving deal brings an end to a huge offseason for Danny Ainge and the Celtics; by missing out on Jimmy Butler, Ainge has bowed to public demand by acquiring not only Irving but Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris and Jayson Tatum. They've lost a few key pieces of last year's Conference winning side but it doesn't take much imagination to see how far they've come and the potential damage they could cause in the post-season.
Isaiah Thomas enjoyed a breakout campaign last year but what carry over will there be from his injury in the 2016-17 Conference Finals and there must be question marks over his ability to gel with James and Derrick Rose. He goes from being a player lavished with the spotlight in Boston to filling Irving's place in the shadow of one of the greatest of all time. It could be that the 2018 first round pick included in the deal ends up being the pivotal acquisition for the Cavs rather than Thomas.
Irving's benefit to the Celtics on the other hand needs little explanation, he's an All-Star lock every year and at the tender age of 25 is still yet to reach the peak of his powers. He'll come into his own when he's handed the keys to the Boston Garden and will likely only cement his reputation as one of the best offensive players in the league. As a result he's been cut into 20/1 from 50/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook to be MVP for the upcoming season.
The view from Betfair Trader Ross White:
For the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics are now 5/2 into 2/1 while Cleveland have been pushed to 4/6 from 4/7. Considering it was a blockbuster trade (involving the two best teams in the Eastern Conference), some may have thought there would be a bigger move. However, Boston had to give up quite a bit to get Irving. The outright itself has seen minimal impact with Golden State still viewed as a warm order.