An 11 PM Debate With Myself About the Kyrie Irving Trade
I wrote this so I could fall asleep.
It’s 11:19 PM. I got in bed about an hour ago, read a bit, watched an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and tried to fall asleep. Didn’t happen. I can’t stop thinking about this trade. So, I had a conversation with my good friend and sometimes nemesis, Happy Adam, and decided to share it with you here tonight.
SAD ADAM: This is a disaster. Everything is bad. How am I supposed to fall asleep?
HAPPY ADAM: I love the Celtics too, but don’t you think you’re like, being a little dramatic? I mean, this is really, actually affecting your sleep? That’s…sad.
SAD ADAM: So you came here to mock me? I thought you were supposed to be Happy Adam, not Dick Adam.
HAPPY ADAM: No, no. Let’s talk about it. I’m here for you.
SAD ADAM: I hate it. All of it. I hate this trade, I hate Danny Ainge, and I hate all the people on Reddit posting memes at the Celtics’ expense. It hurts in here [points to his heart].
HAPPY ADAM: What’s bothering you the most? What is this really about?
SAD ADAM: [long pause] Isaiah.
HAPPY ADAM: OK.
SAD ADAM: Look. He’s coming off one of the most efficient offensive seasons the NBA has ever seen. He’s so much fun to watch. He’s given the city everything he’s had since arriving 30 months ago — playoff berths, successfully recruiting star free agents, playing through personal tragedy, seemingly taking the torch from Pierce. He’s the ultimate underdog, a guy who’s had to fight to make his name his own, picked dead last in the draft, standing barely 5'9, underpaid throughout his entire career, under-appreciated by multiple teams before arriving in Boston, is FRIENDS WITH TOM BRADY, FOR GOD’S SAKE-
HAPPY ADAM: I get it, he-
SAD ADAM: Only to be flipped — right when things were getting good, right when they added an all-star in Hayward — I mean, look how happy IT was when they signed him —
HAPPY ADAM: [rubbing bridge of nose] I’ve seen the video.
SAD ADAM: — for a player in Kyrie Irving, who, yes, is good, he can dribble and score and all that, and yes, he’s Uncle Drew, BUT, he also thinks the Earth is flat, AND, more importantly, HE’S NOT MUCH BETTER THAN ISAIAH, IF AT ALL. I mean, it’s too perfect: Kyrie was picked first in that 2011 draft and Thomas was picked 60th. Come on. I don’t like the karmic energy there. I don’t like it one bit.
HAPPY ADAM: Alright, take it easy with the “karmic energy”…
SAD ADAM: And he asked out of Cleveland, a team coming off three straight Finals appearances. Is he competitive? Does he just want to be the man?
HAPPY ADAM: Well-
SAD ADAM: I have more to say.
HAPPY ADAM: OK but let me unpack this first.
SAD ADAM: [stares]
HAPPY ADAM: I love Isaiah too. He’ll get well-deserved love from the Boston faithful on social media and all night long when he returns as a Cav. But Irving is signed for two years, is three years younger than Isaiah, is taller, is better (when he wants to be) on the defensive end, doesn’t have the injury concerns that Isaiah does, and is widely considered to be the superior player. And it’s not like we shipped Isaiah to Siberia, he’s headed to Cleveland to play with LeBron and his buddy Kevin Love.
SAD ADAM: I haven’t even touched on Jae Crowder, Zizic, and the Nets pick.
HAPPY ADAM: I was wondering when we’d get here.
SAD ADAM: Crowder.
HAPPY ADAM: yeah.
SAD ADAM: He’s another grit-and-grinder, gone. Signed for three more seasons at team friendly money, versatility on both sides of the floor…people aren’t talking about this one, but it sucks to lose him.
HAPPY ADAM: Yeah, it does. But remember, there were some questions about how he’d respond to Hayward coming in, not to mention Tatum and especially Marcus Morris. They may have sidestepped an awkward team dynamic, and those things get harder to navigate mid-flight.
SAD ADAM: OK. What about Zizic? You loved him three months ago.
HAPPY ADAM: That was before he was exposed in Summer League.
SAD ADAM: Fair point.
HAPPY ADAM: In all seriousness, he may be something, he may be just another guy…it’s hard to know. What I do know is that he plays a position that’s going extinct in the NBA: the low-post bruiser. I don’t love giving him up, he’s a promising prospect, but he’s the least of my concerns here.
SAD ADAM: I thought you didn’t have any concerns. I thought you were Mr. Cool Guy? I remember when you hated the Fultz deal.
HAPPY ADAM: Don’t…don’t call me Mr. Cool Guy. I’m just more rational than you are. And yes, it may have taken me a few hours to come around on the Fultz deal.
SAD ADAM: Rational, huh? How about this. Three words that will break your heart: 2018 Nets pick.
HAPPY ADAM: [wincing] Yeah.
SAD ADAM: [smiling sadistically] Yeah, hurts, doesn’t it?
HAPPY ADAM: I think the inclusion of the pick is basically the tax that we pay to get the Cavs to trade a 25 year old superstar to their biggest conference rival. And hey, the Nets may be a bit better this year. Plus we still have the Lakers/Kings pick, and be honest: won’t it be a little nice not having to scoreboard watch the Nets every night?
SAD ADAM: I’m going to scoreboard watch even more now, to figure out how enraged I should be about this monstrosity of a trade.
HAPPY ADAM: Point taken.
SAD ADAM: Plus, we have less ammo to go after Anthony Davis.
HAPPY ADAM: The Pelicans aren’t trading him. They don’t even trade him to me in 2K. And if and when they decide to, we still have plenty of assets to put together an offer.
SAD ADAM: Fine. But here’s the bottom line: there’s a real scenario where the Cavaliers get better this season, win the title, which causes LeBron to stay in Cleveland, then they win the lottery, then they win the East for years to come, all while Irving wilts under the white-hot Boston media spotlight, bounces in two years, and Danny Ainge vanishes into thin air.
HAPPY ADAM: Aside from Ainge defying the physical laws of our world, yes, there is a scenario where those things happen.
SAD ADAM: Exactly. As I initially stated: EVERYTHING IS AWFUL.
HAPPY ADAM: Hold up though. There’s also a scenario — a more likely one, I’d argue — where we’re a bit better this year, but much better in the following few years, and led by a young, well-connected, Team USA-member Kyrie Irving, who reaches new heights when coached by the Player Whisperer himself, our greatest asset of all: Brad Stevens.
SAD ADAM: [hope in his eyes for the first time] Brad Stevens…Brad Stevens…
HAPPY ADAM: That’s right. The guy who turned Jordan Crawford into the NBA Player of the Week that one time is going to get his hands on Kyrie Irving — Rookie of the Year, four time All-Star, NBA champion, big-shot maker, Olympian — Kyrie Irving.
SAD ADAM: [slowly nodding]
HAPPY ADAM: And remember, it was Danny Ainge pulling the trigger here. Doesn’t he deserve the benefit of the doubt? In 2014, we had 25 wins. In 2015, 40 wins and a playoff berth. 2016, 48 wins. 2017, 53 wins, the 1 seed, and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. He’s turned over the roster multiple times and we seem to keep getting better.
SAD ADAM: That’s true.
HAPPY ADAM: And, know what’s a nice little bonus? If we don’t get to the Finals, it’ll probably be Isaiah going at the Warriors, so you’ll be able to cheer for him then.
SAD ADAM: [nodding]
HAPPY ADAM: I’m not saying it’s a home run deal. But there’s a lot to like, and I think at the very least, we’ve gotta wait and see. What do you think?
SAD ADAM: I still don’t love it. But I think I can fall asleep now.