This has been the Summer of Trades, with more superstar exchanges than in any other year in recent memory. The Pacers traded Paul George to the Thunder, the Timberwolves acquired Jimmy Butler from the Bulls, and the Clippers sent Chris Paul to the Rockets. The other trades were significant, but the real blockbuster trade of the summer happened Tuesday when Kyrie Irving was traded to Boston for a package that includes Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets 2018 1st round pick.
While the Pacers lost the George trade and the Timberwolves were the clear winners of the Butler deal, this recent trade could be seen as a win for both Boston and Cleveland. However, what does this mean for the rest of the NBA and how could this affect the Grizzlies?
First off, both teams improved from this trade. While Kyrie Irving is a better (and younger) point guard than Isaiah Thomas, he is still one of the top players at his position. Jae Crowder is one of the better two-way players in the NBA on a very team-friendly contract. Ante Zizic displayed his high upside this summer at the Las Vegas Summer League and, obviously, getting the number one pick in the draft is a huge win. The Celtics get one of the best offensive players in the league in Irving, a player they are confident they can resign to an extension after his contract runs out after the 2019-2020 season.
With the recent trades and the large amount of talent seen gravitating towards these east coast teams, The East will continue to be dominated by Boston and Cleveland. The Cavs obtained a few pieces to help them stay in title contention, while Boston acquired a young superstar to lead the team to success while setting themselves up for the future. While the West isn’t as affected as the East, the trend of superstars moving to the West has been temporarily put on hold.
The Grizzlies are part of the Western conference and, although the West is not as affected by this trade as the East, one way the Grizzlies could be affected directly by this trade is if they meet Cleveland or Boston in the Finals. However, I would argue that the biggest way this trade affects Memphis is the fact that Kyrie is staying in the East and away from San Antonio. The Spurs were one of the teams Irving was reportedly interested in joining; by going to Beantown, one of the Grizzlies’ biggest division rivals is prevented from becoming even better with the addition of another superstar.
Rest easy Memphis fans, we won’t see Irving rocking the black and grey of San Antonio anytime soon.