After the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, players from throughout the NBA reacted publicly to news of the trade, including, notably, Irving’s teammate LeBron James. Irving and James played as a dynamic duo on the Cavaliers for the past three seasons, helping earn the franchise’s first-ever NBA title and seeing the team to the NBA finals each of those seasons.
In exchange for Irving, the Celtics dealt Isiah Thomas, Ante Zizic, Jae Crowder, and Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick.
James tweeted out well wishes to Irving after the trade announcement: “That’s the only way to be to the kid! Special talent/guy! Nothing but respect and what a ride it was our 3 years together Young Gode #Filayy”
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 23, 2017
James and Irving will now face each other as opponents when the Cavaliers play the Celtics to open the season Oct. 17 in Cleveland.
Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum expressed excitement at the news of Irving joining his team. Both Irving and Tatum are products of Duke University. “I was watching on TV, and I saw breaking news come across, so it was just as much of a shock to me as all the other fans,” said Tatum, who recently moved to Massachusetts to begin workouts with the Celtics.
In addition to the players, announcers and analysts provided plenty of commentary on the trade. Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman chimed in, saying Boston is a better team after getting Irving. “[The Celtics] want to win the whole thing, and the move to get Kyrie is basically ownership and [general manager] Danny [Ainge] saying to fans, ‘we’re going to try to win this thing now, get on board,’” CBS Boston reported.
Irving requested to be traded last month, after which league sources told ESPN that the point guard had asked the team to trade him, reported ESPN, who referenced sources as saying Irving no longer wanted to play alongside James.
Isaiah Thomas is due for free agency next summer, and the Celtics anticipated having to shell out millions to keep him, as reported in the New York Times, who reported Thomas led the Celtics’ resurgence in the past few years.