Celtics Long-Ago Trade For Kyrie Irving Gets Knife Twist Given Hinted Draft Target

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would've looked great in Green


November 15, 2022

Green Teamers probably are over talking about the 2017 trade in which the Boston Celtics acquired Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The trade, and ultimately Irving’s short-lived tenure in Boston, went up in flames after the talented guard departed after two seasons (127 games) with the organization. Irving now gets booed any time he returns to TD Garden, in large part because fans won’t ever forget his promise to re-sign with the Celtics for the long term.

Well, there’s been another twist of the knife pertaining to the Irving situation.

The Celtics, as hinted by NBC Sports Boston’s analyst Brian Scalabrine and shared by The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn, would have targeted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with the unprotected lottery selection they traded to Cleveland. Instead, the Cavaliers drafted Collin Sexton with the pick at No. 8 overall and Gilgeous-Alexander fell to No. 11.

The reason behind the latest trip down memory lane is because Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder were in Boston on Monday taking on the Celtics. The fifth-year shooting guard, who has spent his last four seasons in Oklahoma City, dropped 37 points on 13-for-26 from the field with eight assists in Boston’s 126-122 victory.

The Kentucky product now averages 31.5 points per game during the 2022-23 campaign and 18.9 points over his career on 48% from the field. The selection of the 24-year-old star would have meant the Celtics drafted Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Gilgeous-Alexander in the lottery of three consecutive drafts — perhaps a dream scenario in the mind of Green Teamers.

All told, we’re now able to reflect on how the Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and (kind of?) Gilgeous-Alexander for two years of Irving, who played in nine playoff games for the franchise still seeking Banner 18.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images
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