Almost since the beginning of free agency this summer, there’s been talk that Kyrie Irving wants to be traded. Well, several weeks later, a deal is done. Not only did Kyrie get traded, as he requested, but he will remain in the Eastern Conference as a new member of the Boston Celtics to face the Cleveland Cavaliers many times throughout the season. It will be a premiere matchup to watch old teammates battle each other, but that’s not why you’re reading about this on a Marquette-centric website. You’re here because the Celtics gave up former Marquette star and 2012 Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder in order to acquire Kyrie, or perhaps more accurately, the Cavaliers gave up Kyrie in order to acquire Crowder.
The New Celtics
According to ESPN, the Celtics gave up Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first round pick for Kyrie Irving.
By trading two key players from their starting lineup in exchange for one, not to mention their trade of another starter (Avery Bradley) weeks ago to complete the Gordon Hayward signing, the Celtics have reduced the quantity of players they had in 2016-17 for quality in 2017-18.
With this move, Boston may have found a near perfect balance of veteran leadership and rookie potential. A possible starting lineup could be Hayward, Kyrie, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and Marcus Smart, meaning Boston will finally have a respectable starting five with a franchise player that can change their entire future for the better. The Celtics should not only be able to compete in the Eastern Conference, but win.
What they Gave Up
Of course, with building comes destruction and the loss of Crowder will most notably hinder the Celtics’ toughness. With less talent than most other top teams in the NBA, head coach Brad Stevens relied on grit and effort from his players. Jae Crowder was one of the leaders that spearheaded this movement and it helped them obtain the #1 seed in the East last season. Crowder will be tough to replace in that regard, because effort and toughness, the same effort and toughness that MU fans saw in his two years in blue and gold, can’t be taught.
What Crowder Can Bring to the Cavs
By adding Crowder to their team, the Cavs are getting a solid rebounder and defender who has shown he can battle and play against anyone down low. Crowder may come from humble beginnings as a Marquette basketball alum, who was drafted by the Cavs originally in 2012 before being traded to Dallas that same night. Now he will finally suit up for the team that drafted him.
Throughout his career, Crowder never found a role for himself until he came to Boston. It was there that his grit and grind style was appreciated and flourished. When the free agency signing of Hayward was announced, Jae knew his days were numbered, but at least he goes from one contender to another.
With a career built on hard work trying to make a name for himself, Crowder now finds himself in the same position on a new team where he doesn’t know if his talents will fit the team mold. He will need to do exactly what he got him here: work hard and grind. You’d have to imagine that would go a long towards making nice with LeBron James, Crowder’s new teammate.
One thing’s for sure, Crowder is a team player and he’ll do everything the team wants him to do, and perhaps needs him to do with the Cavaliers looking to win another NBA title in June 2018. Will it be enough or does he find himself on the outside looking in again? Only time will tell, but if Crowder sticks to what he’s done in the past, I think he’ll be alright.