Kyrie Irving appears to be on his way out of Cleveland, and the Celtics are reportedly showing interest in the Cavaliers' star point guard.
According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the Celtics have placed an "obligatory call letting Cleveland know they would like to be kept in the loop, sources say."
"Boston could offer Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and one of their golden picks — Brooklyn's pick next season, or the Lakers/Kings pick they got from Philly," Lowe wrote, noting that "it's unclear if they would dangle all of that."
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The Celtics do have a wealth of assets to trade. Irving is three years younger (and six inches taller) than Thomas, with a more consistent track record of scoring and two guaranteed years left on his contract. Thomas is expected to hit free agency next offseason.
With 28.9 points per game last year, Thomas outscored Irving's 25.2, but Irving was playing beside LeBron James. That said, Thomas managed .1 more assists per game than Irving did last year. And while Irving has been a known commodity since the Cavaliers picked him first overall in 2011, Thomas, taken with the final pick in that same draft, has developed into something of a superstar before the eyes of Celtics fans.
Even while Irving does represent a potentially significant upgrade, Lowe notes that "a deal between the East's two best teams seems unlikely."
This may be further corroborated by the fact that Boston traded its first overall pick — and dibs on point guard Markelle Fultz — to Philadelphia, choosing instead to take small forward Jayson Tatum. Additionally, after agreeing to sign Gordon Hayward, the team opted to clear cap space by trading shooting guard Avery Bradley, who is set to become a free agent at the same time as Thoams. The Celtics would likely only be able to retain one of those free agents and, at least on the surface, seemed poised to "bring out the Brinks truck" for their undersized underdog superstar.