Cavs' Gilbert: 'We killed it' with Kyrie Irving trade

NBA.com Global on May 23, 2019 05:05 PM
Cavs' Gilbert: 'We killed it' with Kyrie Irving trade
FILE - BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 30: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics stand for the National Anthem before the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 30, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA.com staff report

The decision to trade Kyrie Irving to Boston for a future first-round pick, Isaiah Thomas, Ante Zizic and Jae Crowder was a bonafide win for the Cavaliers.

That's how Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert feels, anyway, a sentiment expressed via The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Citing Irving's desire to be traded -- and his agent alluding to his need for knee surgery if he wasn't dealt -- Gilbert dubbed the Cavs' escape from the awkward predicament nothing short of a win for the hard-fallen franchise.

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“We could have ended up with nothing. Looking back after all the moves [general manager] Koby [Altman] made, we killed it in that trade," Gilbert declared after stating he thinks Irving, an unrestricted free agent this summer, will leave Boston.

Irving has averaged 24.1 points, 6.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds en route to a pair of All-Star appearances in his two years with the Celtics. He missed the 2018 Playoffs due to injury, however, before Boston suffered a 4-1 second-round defeat to Milwaukee in 2019.

Cleveland, meanwhile, used the Nets pick they acquired in the trade to draft Collin Sexton, who earned All-Rookie Second Team honors in 2018-19. Zizic showed promise as the Cavs' backup center this season, while Crowder and Thomas were traded again just months after Cleveland acquired them.

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