Koby Altman had a dilemma when he became the Cavs' GM last month. With LeBron James one year from a possible opt-out, and Kyrie Irving looking to be traded, should Altman look to the future or go for another NBA title run?
He did both on Tuesday. The Cavs traded Irving, their star point guard, to the Celtics for guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and the Nets' unprotected first-round pick in the 2018 draft.
Irving might be the best pure scorer in the league. But assuming that Thomas returns healthy from a hip injury, it's a great deal for the Cavs. It makes them deeper, more versatile and better capable of beating the Warriors in another Finals.
Thomas averaged 28.9 points last season and is a supreme clutch player. But the key is Crowder, a versatile player who defends multiple positions and shoots the three. He'd be a valuable asset in a series against Golden State.
Boston was reluctant to part with the Nets' pick, which should be high. But they were concerned enough about Thomas's hip and pending free agency to make the deal. Now the Cavs are improved for one more run with LeBron, while holding a high draft pick for a possible rebuild.