Cleveland Cavaliers send Kyrie Irving to Celtics for Isaiah Thomas

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Boston Celtics have acquired All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a trade involving multiple players and future draft pick.

Kyrie Irving Celtics
Kyrie Irving requested a trade during a July meeting with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

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 the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge noted the bittersweet nature of Tuesday’s trade.

“This has obviously been a roller coaster of a day for us, trading away Isaiah and Jae and Ante, especially Isaiah and Jae, who have been such a big part of our team and our success and our Celtic culture as leaders of our team. Very, very difficult day,” Ainge said. “At the same time, a very exciting time [to add] one of the best offensive players in the league.”

Ainge said that it was a very tough phone call to inform Thomas, who had emerged as the face of the franchise since he arrived at the trade deadline in February 2015.

He also acknowledged that Irving’s price tag was high. “It is a high price tag,” he said. “But acquiring a 25-year-old perennial All-Star, a player that fits a timeline for us and is a fantastic offensive player, one of the best offensive players in the league, you have to pay a heavy price.”

Kyrie Irving Wanted to Be “The Man”

Irving’s goals were clear; he wanted to be “The Man” and still win at a high level. If he went to the Spurs, he would take a back seat to Kawhi Leonard. If he went to the Knicks, it meant toiling for a bad team, maybe forever. Going to the Celtics accomplishes both goals.

Irving waived a $5.8 million trade kicker — 15 percent of the total money remaining on his Cleveland deal — to join Boston, sources said. The trade will give Cleveland $29.1 million in tax savings. Cleveland’s tax is now $49.3 million, down from $78.4 million.

The Celtics and Cavaliers open the season against each other Oct. 17 in Cleveland.

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