Home Sports Cavs trade Kyrie Irving to Celtics, get Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder

Cavs trade Kyrie Irving to Celtics, get Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder

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    Cavs trade Kyrie Irving to Celtics, get Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder

Photo: Jason Miller / Getty Images

After teaming with LeBron James to win one NBA title, Kyrie Irving (left) will now be facing off against him in the East.
After teaming with LeBron James to win one NBA title, Kyrie Irving (left) will now be facing off against him in the East.

Photo: Jason Miller / Getty Images

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) talks with LeBron James during an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) talks with LeBron James during an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

Photo: Aaron Gash / AP

AUBURN HILLS, MI – APRIL 22: Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers look on while playing the Detroit Pistons during the second quarter of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 22, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
AUBURN HILLS, MI – APRIL 22: Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers look on while playing the Detroit Pistons during the second quarter of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals at

Photo: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images

Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, back, talks with Kyrie Irving in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, back, talks with Kyrie Irving in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Photo: Tony Dejak, Associated Press

LeBron James #23 and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers look on during warm ups prior to a game against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena on October 30, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
LeBron James #23 and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers look on during warm ups prior to a game against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena on October 30, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER:

Photo: Jason Miller, Getty Images

Cavs trade Kyrie Irving to Celtics, get Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder

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CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving was tired of being teammates with LeBron James.

Now he has to figure out how to beat him.

Irving, Cleveland’s All-Star guard who asked owner Dan Gilbert to trade him earlier this summer, was dealt Tuesday night to the Boston Celtics for fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft pick that the Celtics had previously obtained from the Brooklyn Nets.

“It’s extremely rare to trade for a 25-year-old player that’s done what he’s done, the offensive weapon that he is,” Celtics president Danny Ainge said. “We feel like his best basketball is still ahead of him.

“We have a player that’s proven to be a sure thing. We know how unpredictable the draft can be. You do pay a heavy price for a player of that age and that caliber.”

Irving, whose late three-pointer helped Cleveland win the 2016 NBA championship over the Warriors — the city’s first title since 1964 — will join a Celtics team that lost to the Cavs in last season’s Eastern Conference finals.

As fate will have it, the Cavs will host the Celtics in their season opener Oct. 17.

“Of course, we know who our competition is, and we know who are biggest threats are each year,” Ainge said. “But we feel like this is a trade that can make us better, and that’s why we did it.”

The blockbuster deal caps a wild summer for the Cavs, who lost their title defense in five games to the Warriors in June. Since then, general manager David Griffin left, the team failed to convince Chauncey Billups to join its front office and James has played with fans’ emotions with veiled postings on social media about his future.

Irving’s trade demand cast a shadow over the organization.

But Cleveland may have salvaged its offseason with this trade. In Thomas, its getting a proven playmaker. The 5-foot-9 guard is one of the league’s most dynamic backcourt players, with an uncanny ability to get to the basket.

The 28-year-old Thomas was taken with the final selection in the 2011 draft — 59 picks after Irving was picked first overall. But he has steadily scaled his way up to elite status.

Thomas’ reputation in Boston was cemented when he led the Celtics through the playoffs last season despite the death of his sister on the eve of the postseason. He also had a front tooth knocked out during the second-round series against Washington and a hip injury eventually forced the team to shut him down early in the East finals, won by the Cavaliers in five games.

Thomas is eligible for free agency next summer and believes he is worthy of a maximum contract. He has been quoted saying, “They better bring out the Brinks truck.”

Cleveland also is getting Crowder, a solid perimeter defender, plus the first-round pick. The package could help the Cavs reload if James opts out of his contract next summer and leaves Cleveland.

Irving struggled in his first few seasons but blossomed in recent years alongside James. However, that didn’t seem to be enough for Irving, who has wanted to be the focal point on his own team.

Tom Withers is an Associated Press writer.

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