Replacing Irving as the starting point guard and James' number two man is Thomas, who has been the face of the Celtics franchise since he joined in 2015. The Celtics are, more or less, their only competition for the Eastern Conference crown, and LeBron has a decade-long rivalry with Boston.
Even though the Celtics parted ways with the Nets' pick, they still have the 2018 protected Lakers' pick they acquired from the Sixers in June as part of the trade up to No. 1 in the draft for Markelle Fultz. It is still interesting, though, that the Cavs were willing to move Irving to the team they faced in the Eastern Conference Finals this past season.
Looking at this trade purely from the perspective of the Boston Celtics, the Celtics got robbed. I still feel that way a bit, but make no mistake about it, they sold low on Jimmy Butler. Moreover, one reason the Cavs gave Irving up was that of his contract situation as he has two years left with a player-option for the 2019-20 season. Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman chimed in, saying Boston is a better team after getting Irving.
Despite having pulled off a great return for their unhappy star Kyrie Irving, the ClevelandCavaliers might not have entirely solved their puzzle against the Golden State Warriors just yet. However, neither player is a particularly good passer for his position and both are slouches on defense, though at least Thomas tries on the defensive end.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he was the first player to average at least 25 points and five assists and not lead his team in either category as James posted 26.4 points and 8.7 assists.
Thomas was named after National Basketball Association legend Isiah Thomas when his father, James, lost a friendly wager on a Lakers-Pistons playoff game in 1989. Irving may be seen as the superior player in most people's eyes, but it may in fact be closer than everyone thinks. The Celtics and Cavs are likely to finish first and second in the East and contend for a shot at the NBA Finals in the upcoming season.
If the Bulls can tank this season away and start from scratch on the rebuild, they will be in a better spot than they were with Butler. "You do what you have to do to try to get better".