Kyrie Irving is officially a Boston Celtic. Finally. We think.
On Wednesday, the Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers announced Boston would send a 2020 second-round pick to Cleveland to complete their blockbuster swap of All-Star guards. The Celtics will send Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected 2018 first-round pick and the 2020 second-rounder to complete the deal.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com first reported the news.
Earlier, Wojnarowski reported Cleveland was still seeking an additional first-round pick from Boston after having some uneasiness about the results of Thomas' physical. The two-time All-Star point guard is rehabbing a hip injury.
The Cavaliers and Celtics need to complete the deal by 10 a.m. ET Thursday under NBA guidelines.
Irving, a four-time All-Star at age 25, requested a trade from Cleveland last month, per ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst. He reportedly sought a larger individual spotlight and no longer wanted to play with LeBron James, an elder mentor with whom he sometimes had a bristly relationship.
The Celtics represent a proper star-making locale and at worst a lateral move in the standings. Boston finished with the best record in the East last season before losing to Cleveland in five games in the conference finals—an exit arguably expedited by Thomas' injury. The Celtics poached Gordon Hayward in free agency this summer, and Irving will join him in a Big Three with Al Horford.
The Cavs, meanwhile, will enter the 2017-18 season in a far more precarious place than at any point since James' return. Thomas said Tuesday that he expects to be the "same player" once he returns to the floor but offered no timetable.
"There's never been an indication that I wouldn't be back, and there's never been an indication that this is something messing up my career," Thomas told Wojnarowski. "Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I'm going to be back, and I'm going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that."
Cleveland will likely begin the season with Derrick Rose as its starting point guard, a significant downgrade from Irving. Crowder will help with wing depth, but the Cavs' star power at the top of their roster took a big hit—especially if Thomas doesn't return at 100 percent.
Once the two teams agreed to the shell terms of this deal, it was unlikely either would walk away. Cleveland needed to move on from a disgruntled Irving, and the Brooklyn pick by itself is a better asset than Jimmy Butler or Paul George fetched in trades earlier this summer.
Via Chris Mannix in an appearance with CSNNE, the Celtics took Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum—the No. 3 overall picks in 2016 and 2017, respectively—off the table, but another selection (especially a second) is a minimal cost of doing business.