Picking a winner in the blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics and Isaiah Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers isn’t easy. But Stephen A. Smith has delivered his verdict, and Celtics fans probably won’t like it.
Smith and fellow ESPN “First Take” co-host Max Kellerman took turns Wednesday making cases for who “won” the megadeal. Kellerman, citing the unknown fate of the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, went with the Celts, while Smith took the Cavs.
“I don’t think anyone lost in this, I don’t blame Boston for doing what they did, and Kyrie, again, is sensational,” Smith said. “But when you look at the team that the Cavs have, when you look at the fact that they’re looking to compete for a championship, and you think about what you replace Kyrie with (Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Nets pick) … I believe that Cleveland, by a slight edge, won in this. Nobody lost at all, but I give the slight edge to Cleveland.
He makes a pretty strong case, and you can watch the rest of his take in the video below:
Given how many players the Celtics have gained and lost since last season, it’s incredibly difficult to predict how the team will look, even with the addition of a player like Irving.
Still, we think the Celts made out great in this deal, mostly because of who they didn’t give up rather than who they ultimate parted with.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images