By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is acting crazy.
In other words, it's a day.
Sitting down with Cleveland.com's Terry Pluto, Gilbert gave fans a rundown of the franchise's future under general manager Koby Altman, but made sure to touch on the 2017 trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston. You know, the deal that saw the Cavs send two years of team control of Irving's prime to the C's in exchange for point guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, a 2018 first-round pick (a pick used on Colin Sexton), and 2020 second-round pick.
“I don’t know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston,” Gilbert said. “We could have ended up with nothing. Looking back after all the moves Koby made, we killed it in that trade.”
Now, this is a man who has been listening to too much Mike Felger. (I'm legally required to tell you that there's no such thing as too much Felger, and that Felger & Mazz can be heard weekdays on 98.5 The Sports Hub, so please download the app and allow me to continue to collect paychecks and eat Chipotle guilt-free.)
The Comic Sans enthusiast could be right when he says that Irving could leave Boston, of course. Although the Celtics remain confident that Irving will stay with them, there's no shortage of rumors linking Irving to the Knicks and Nets. Even the Lakers have joined the mix in recent weeks, likely the result of a single "You up?" text LeBron James sent to Brian Windhorst.
But the idea that the Cavs 'killed it' by trading Irving to Boston? Boy, oh boy, is that a leap and a half.
Start with the obvious, tangible return for the 2017-18 Cavs: Thomas, Crowder, and Zizic.
Thomas, battered in Boston, would not make his Cavaliers debut until Jan. 2, and was a) completely cooked at the hip from his 2017 playoff run with the Green and b) perhaps the worst fit possible for LeBron's Cavs. In fact, Thomas lasted just 15 games in Cleveland before they unloaded him on the Los Angeles Lakers. Crowder, meanwhile, was used in a deal to acquire Rodney Hood and George Hill. The new-look Cavs were able to push themselves by the Celtics in the third round, but they were absolutely and predictably stomped by the Warriors for the second straight year. Records would indicate that Zizic still exists, but I'm honestly not ready to go that far.
And with LeBron gone and the Cavaliers in the toilet in 2018-19, Hood was traded to Portland for a pair of second-round draft picks, while Hill was sent to Milwaukee for Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson, a first-round pick, and second-round pick. Dellavedova averaged 5.9 points per game last year and is on the hook for $9.6 million for another two seasons, Henson didn't play a single game for Cleveland due to an injury suffered in Milwaukee, and second-round picks are candy nobody really wants. They are caramel chews. Killin' it!
So, the Cavaliers essentially traded two years of Irving for three months of Hood and Hill, as well as Sexton's developmental years on what will surely be completely hopeless, losing teams that may very well eat his soul by the end of it. Sexton, by the way, will already be playing for his third different NBA coach by the start of his second NBA season Killin' it, baby!
If that's killing it, the Red Sox killed it on the Babe Ruth trade, Peter Chiarelli swindled the Stars when he traded Tyler Seguin to Dallas, and taking Kelly Olynyk over Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2013 may very well be Danny Ainge's finest work ever.
Now, while something I could see myself doing all day, it's unfair to smoke Gilbert and the Cavs without admitting the obvious truth that teams rarely win when trading a disgruntled superstar. But trading a premier talent just to move on is something not even the Pelicans will do, as the Anthony Davis Saga has told you. The Pelicans. The Pelicans! The franchise willingly named after an animal at its absolute fiercest in 1995's Jumanji, and a team that has turned to a man that walked away from the Gilbert's Cavaliers in an effort to right their ship.
When you're getting outsmarted by the Pelicans, you're not as smart as you'd like to think.
Gilbert is also making the mistake of equating Irving potentially leaving for nothing to 'killing it' on a trade.
That's incredibly foolish, really. While it's clear that Irving is a weird dude and not the easiest to get along with, the Cavaliers really didn't seem to do a whole lot to get Kyrie and LeBron on the same page that Cleveland-changing summer. Their issues were eventually patched up rather easily, too, only speaking to the petty nature of it all. It's hard to imagine living in a universe in which you truly believe that Hood and Hill were going to help you more than two years of Irving (busted knee and all). But it's especially foolish to focus on what might happen in 2019 when you consider the fact that the Irving trade undoubtedly closed Cleveland's window on winning multiple championships on LeBron's second run in town.
It's all just completely silly nonsense.
Then again, that's Gilbert, baby.