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Cavs news: NBA insider says ‘Cleveland made out like bandits’ in trade

Isaiah Thomas Kyrie Irving

On Tuesday evening, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics came together for one of the biggest trades of the 2017 NBA offseason. The Cavs, winners of last season’s Eastern Conference title, sent All Star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Celtics. In return, the Celtics gave up Isaiah Thomas (also an All Star), Jae Crowder, Ante Žižić, and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected first round pick in next year’s draft.

There are several NBA executives who feel that Cleveland “made out like bandits” in Tuesday’s trade with Boston, according to Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report.

“Cleveland made out like bandits,” one Western Conference scout told Bleacher Report. “To get an All-Star, a starter and a good pick, come on.”

There are a variety of reasons why opposing scouts feel Cleveland won Tuesday’s trade. By trading for Thomas, the Cavs have essentially eliminated any potential locker room drama surrounding Irving’s request for a trade earlier this summer. Furthermore, Thomas is an extremely efficient scorer in the fourth quarter — similar to Irving. Yes, Thomas, a 5-9 dynamo, is shorter than Irving (6’2″), but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Cavs’ offensive production will take a hit.

In his 76 games played for the Celtics last season, Thomas averaged a career-high 28.9 points on 46 percent shooting from the field (career-high), 5.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds in 33.8 minutes per contest.

Crowder, a 27-year-old wing, will likely play behind LeBron James at the small forward position. However, the Cavs may elect to use him at power forward on occasion. Crowder is an excellent defender who can bang on the low block with anyone, and he possesses an improving shot from beyond the arc.

Crowder appeared in 72 games for the Celtics last season, averaging 13.9 points on a career-high 46 percent shooting from the field (career-high 40 percent from downtown), 5.8 rebounds (career-high), 2.2 assists (career-high), and 1.0 steals in 32.4 minutes per game (career-high).

“Crowder really helps LeBron out,” an Eastern Conference assistant coach told Bleacher Report. “He can play 4 offensively, like [Shane] Battier did for him [with the Miami Heat], but guard the 3.”

In Žižić, the Cavs are receiving a true seven-foot prospect. Zizic, a 20-year-old a native of Croatia, was selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Celtics. Prior to being drafted, Žižić played for former Cavs head coach David Blatt with Darüşşafaka Doğuş, a professional basketball club based in İstanbul, Turkey.

In his 20 games played for Darüşşafaka, Žižić averaged 9.0 points on 65 percent shooting from the field, 6.7 rebounds, and just under one block (.8) in 21.9 minutes per outing.

The unprotected pick that the Cavs received from the Nets in Tuesday’s trade may also prove to be valuable, as it could end up being a lottery selection.

“They improved their depth and are in a position to win the East still, while also setting themselves up for the future,” another Eastern Conference scout told Bleacher Report. “I give lots of credit to Koby Altman. That’s hard to do.”

With just under two months remaining until the start of the 2017-18 NBA season, Cavs fans won’t have to wait long to see these new players in action on the hardwood.

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