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#pounditThursday, October 21, 2021

Dan Gilbert thinks Cavs ‘killed it’ with Kyrie Irving trade

Kyrie Irving

The Cleveland Cavaliers would have had a much better chance of winning another championship with LeBron James if they ignored Kyrie Irving’s trade demand, but team owner Dan Gilbert does not regret the way the situation unfolded.

In an interview with Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer this week, Gilbert said the Cavs had no choice but to trade Irving two years ago because he was threatening to undergo knee surgery and skip the season. Irving ended up missing the playoffs last year with the Boston Celtics because he needed two knee procedures, so Gilbert feels that is proof there was an actual issue. He also believes Irving will leave Boston as a free agent this summer, and that is one of the reasons he is pleased with the outcome of the trade.

“I don’t know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston,” Gilbert said. “We could have ended up with nothing. Looking back after all the moves (GM Koby Altman) made, we killed it in that trade.”

The Cavs got the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick in last year’s draft as part of the Irving trade, and they used it to draft Collin Sexton. The point guard averaged 16.7 points per game and earned All-Rookie Second Team honors this year. Cleveland also got Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic in the deal. Both Thomas and Crowder were traded months after the Cavs acquired them, and Zizic serves as the team’s backup center.

You can look at the Irving trade a number of different ways. If he truly was going to sit out the entire 2017-18 season and then leave via free agency, the Cavs made the right choice. If they could have somehow convinced him to play one more season, they would have had a better shot at winning another title with LeBron.

Even if the Cavs didn’t “kill it” with the Irving trade, the All-Star point guard clearly had problems with his teammates in Boston this season. That has to make Gilbert feel better about the Cavs moving on from him when they did.

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