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Faith Brings Rivals Together and Tears Teams Apart

Faith, it’s a dangerous thing and the Celtic’s lack of faith in Isiah Thomas forced them to make a move. The 28-year-old 5’9” all-star had an immaculate season but with his contract coming up and his salary demands GM Danny Ainge doubted Thomas’s ability to lead the team to a championship.

He opted to continue his summer of trades and sent Thomas, Jae Crowder, 2018 Brooklyn pick, and Rookie Ante Zizic to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving. Irving and Cleveland’s lack of faith in one another drove them apart.

The Celtics simply had more faith in a team built around the future of Irving than one based around the future of Thomas.

THE TRADE

Considering the current state of the NBA and the trade value of multiple time all-stars the Celtics may have overpaid. Sending the Nets pick along with Crowder was astonishing, but Crowder was arguably their biggest trade piece available, and no trade the Celtics could have made would have happened without him. The Brooklyn Pick they’re sending may or may not even end up in the top five let alone number one as it did last season. The Nets have undoubtedly improved from where they ended the season and have upgraded some key Positions. In an Eastern Conference filled with teams that were already bad and teams that got significantly worse, the Nets could finish above four or five teams in just the East. The Lakers and Suns will once again have to fight tooth and nail just to crack 15 wins.

Ante Zizic is the most puzzling piece about this trade to me as, yes the Cavs needed front court help but so do the Celtics. Zizic had a dreadful summer league where he looked slow, flat footed and just out of rhythm with the game around him but his track record in the Euro-league says otherwise of the hefty seven-footer. He can guard the rim on defense and is above average passer for his size and appears to have the makings of a young Jusuf Nurkic instead of what we saw just a few weeks ago.

The Celtics gave him up; the Nets pick, Jae Crowder, and Isiah Thomas, for a player that requested to be traded because he said he didn’t want to play with James anymore.

Why so much for a player that should have seen his value drop to something along the lines of Jimmy Butler or Paul George trades.

If rumors are correct in believing that the Thomas hip-injury is serious and he misses time the Celtics may have made the right decision. That being said if IT’s hips are that bad the trade may be vetoed upon his physical.

THE CAVS

With the teams two primary guards now being defensive train wrecks that surely won’t help their chances of improving on their 22nd ranked defense last season. Derrick Rose and Thomas being the caliber of players they’ve shown to be on contracts together that make around 8 million for all of next season. That’s a remarkable value for so much offensive talent, but that will come at a greater cost when they can’t play together, assuming they manage to stay healthy.

Crowder stands to have the most obvious impact in that he provides actual support to James on the wing giving the Cavs depth. Although he won’t find the same starting role, he found in Boston.

THE CELTICS

After years of never fulfilling the proposed trades he was said to have had, Ainge finally came through and yet it feels so dirty. They traded away a player that found his own in the Kelly Green and made them a playoff team. Thomas made his name with the Celtics but he also made this current Celtics roster possible. It’s undeniable that without Thomas, the Celtics would never have brought in Al Horford and certainly not Gordon Hayward.

Without Thomas’s coming to basketball Jesus moment none of this can happen for the Celtics and even though he has been traded to the team with the greatest player in the NBA, it’s still is a raw deal.

Ainge may think Irving is a better player now. He must think Irving’s ceiling is much higher than what they could have with Thomas. But this trade has the looks of a panic move where Ainge felt he needed to make a move. Whether or not that is true is something only the Celtics can know but it this was undoubtedly an over pay, given what was awarded to the Bulls, Kings, and Pacers.

The Celtics likely won’t compete for a title this season and if Lebron decides to stay in the East, likely not for the rest of LeBron’s career. Making this move confounding and something that may puzzle fans for years to come.

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