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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Celtics and Cavaliers have completed a deal with Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas serving as the centerpiece. According to Wojnarowski, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Celtics 2018 first round pick via the Nets are also heading to the Cavs in the trade.
Here is what the Celtics roster and starting lineup look like after the deal. The starting lineup is projected, and will not be finalized until training camp.
C- Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis
PF- Marcus Morris, Guerschon Yabusele
SF- Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum
SG- Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier
PG- Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Shane Larkin
The trade opens up a competition for a starting spot come training camp. Right now, we have Gordon Hayward sliding to shooting guard with Jaylen Brown moving up to the starting lineup. Don’t be surprised if rookie Jayson Tatum makes a serious run at a starting position.
There were rumblings the Cavs were pushing for Tatum, but the Celtics stood firm in not letting go of their recent draft pick.
While Brown has a year of NBA experience under his belt, Tatum’s play in the summer league indicates he is coming into the season NBA-ready. Hayward has enough position flexibility to play both the two and three positions.
Thomas had become the heartbeat of the Celtics team, but there were questions as to whether the Celtics believed in Thomas enough to give him a long-term, lucrative contract. This trade indicates they were not. While Irving brings with him more of a perceived pedigree dating back to college, their numbers were actually similar last season.
Irving averaged 25.2 points, 5.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds while shooting just over 40 percent from the three-point line last season. Thomas averaged 28.9 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 37.9 percent from behind the arc.
It is important to note Irving put up those numbers playing alongside LeBron James. ESPN reported Irving wanted a larger role, and his new Boston home gives him just that. It is rare two teams competing for a conference title make a trade.
This could heat up a potential Celtics-Cavs rivalry centered around the point guards.