Expectations for the Boston Celtics are sky-high entering the 2017-18 NBA season.
The C’s made a major splash in free agency back in July, signing Gordon Hayward to a four-year max contract worth $128 million. But while the acquisition of Hayward certainly grabbed headlines, it doesn’t hold a candle to Boston’s latest transaction.
The Celtics sent shockwaves around the league Tuesday when they acquired Kyrie Irving in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected first-round pick in next year’s draft.
The deal was viewed as an even trade by most. The C’s brought in an extremely talented young superstar, while LeBron James and the Cavs added two strong veterans to their roster, as well as a highly valuable pick. While it will be a bitter battle between Boston and Cleveland for Eastern Conference supremacy next season, one sports analyst believes the East already belongs to the Celtics for the foreseeable future.
While Cowherd’s prediction for the Celtics might be a tad extreme, his expectations for the team’s future is fitting. Hayward (27) and Irving (25) haven’t even reached their prime, while Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum very well could be superstars in the making. Not to mention, Boston soon could be adding more young talent in the 2018 draft, as it will own the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round selection if the pick falls between the No. 2 and No. 5 spots.
Out of the seasons Cowherd listed, the most difficult for Boston to win the East could be 2018. Despite their tumultuous offseason, the Cavs still have a strong roster, and there could be a sense of urgency with James possibly leaving “The Land” after the 2017-18 campaign. And if LeBron does, in fact, opt out of his contract with Cleveland and become a free agent next summer, it would pave the way for the C’s to be the beasts of the East.
Celtics fans should be excited about the team’s future, but let’s all remember one thing: winning the East is a great accomplishment, but actually winning the NBA title is a whole different animal. And it doesn’t look the Golden State Warriors will be slowing down any time soon.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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