Kyrie Irving Trade Ensures A Bright Future For Cleveland, With Or Without LeBron James
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 29: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates with Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Boston Celtics during the final seconds second half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 29, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics 124-118. 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. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Cavaliers have just secured themselves a strong future, regardless of LeBron James’ involvement in it.

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This past July, Kyrie Irving told Cavs owner Dan Gilbert that he wanted out of Cleveland, and was looking to join a team in which he can be the center of attention. Less than a month later, the 25-year-old got his wish, but the Cleveland Cavaliers got the last laugh.

Most expected Cleveland to trade Irving ahead of the 2017-18 regular season, but weren’t expecting the Cavaliers to receive anything close to what they were given last night.

After all, there was little to no chance that Irving and James were going to replicate their absurd combined stats in their miraculous 3-1 comeback in the 2016 NBA Finals.

In return for Irving, the Cavaliers were able to score Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first rounder.

Irving made it public that he didn’t want to play with LeBron James anymore. Instead of trying to fix a broken relationship, the Cavaliers did something even better.

Cleveland brought in Thomas, who averaged just under 30 points and 5.9 assists last season, and is arguably as hungry to win it all as the man he will soon suit up with.

Since Cleveland acquired Kevin Love in the 2014 offseason, he hasn’t dominated quite like he did in Minnesota. Thomas will change that. The two played AAU basketball together, and the chemistry they shared then should pick up immediately once the season begins.

Thomas is poised for another monstrous offensive campaign. Don’t be surprised if the Cavaliers give him the max money he believes he deserves next offseason.

Regardless of James’ long-term plans, Cleveland just solidified themselves as the deepest team in the entire league.

During the 2017 NBA Finals, Cleveland saw themselves playing Deron Williams and Richard Jefferson frequently when Irving and James needed rest.

Now, the Cavaliers will have Derrick Rose and newly acquired Jae Crowder at their full disposal, and the king won’t be expected to play every second of the finals when he gets there again.

After James averaged 42.4 minutes in the finals, the acquisition of Crowder takes a ton of weight off LeBron’s shoulders.

Since 2014, Crowder has developed into a forward who can strive in a starting or bench role. This past season, the 27-year-old averaged 13.9 points and just under six rebounds per contest.

Cleveland struck gold through acquiring Crowder, as his contract will pay him far less money than he deserves over the next three seasons. Until his eventual free agency in 2020, Crowder will earn under $8 million a year for three seasons and will fit perfectly in a Cavaliers system that struggled mightily in the finals.

Cleveland’s main goal during trade talks with Celtics President Danny Ainge was to acquire one of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, or the Nets’ 2018 unprotected first rounder.

How they were able to get the pick, Thomas, and Crowder is still incomprehensible to me.

As long as LeBron is in the Eastern Conference, his team will most likely make the NBA Finals. With these new acquisitions by his side, he will be given another opportunity to battle Golden State, and will finally have a deep roster to support him in the process.

The Boston Celtics possessed the Nets’ 2017 draft rights, and at one point had the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. One year later, the Cavaliers will be in the same situation as Boston was but will have a chance to draft the NBA’s next great thing.

Barring a complete turnaround for Brooklyn, the Cleveland Cavaliers may have just secured themselves plenty of future success, and possibly many more years of LeBron James. The reason is simple: Michael Porter Jr.

As of now, the Five-Star phenom and soon to be Missouri Tiger is the undisputed first overall pick in the 2018 draft.

The 6-foot-10 forward possesses many of the same skills Warriors superstar Kevin Durant does, and if Cleveland lands him, he may singlehandedly be enough to make LeBron stay.

Boston may believe that through acquiring Marcus Morris and Gordon Hayward, along with having young studs in Brown and Tatum, won’t allow trades like these to hurt them in the long run.

Maybe they just don’t understand the potential possibility of having the NBA’s next prodigy.

 RELATED: Kyrie Trade Shows Early Results of Nets' Progress 

After acquiring tons of reinforcements this offseason, Brooklyn may end up finishing higher in the standings in the 2017-18 season.

However, this will still give Cleveland an opportunity to potentially draft Marvin Bagley III, a recent Duke commit and the next superstar big man in the NBA.

Tristan Thompson‘s rebounding skills plummeted in the finals last year, and through adding a 6-foot-11, 220-pound monster in Bagley, James may end up not having to do all the work on the glass.

The Cavaliers and Celtics will play each other on October 17th, opening night of the NBA season. It should be exciting.


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Zachary Weisleder is a New York Mets Beat Writer for Elite Sports NY. Born and raised in Toronto, Zach is a diehard fan of his local Blue Jays, Raptors, and Maple Leafs. In addition to writing for ESNY, Zach is a passionate supporter of Syracuse athletics and exemplifies his allegiance through contributing for Fansided’s Inside the Loud House and The Armchair All-Americans.