Mitch's Sports Report: Flat Out Awful. Celtics GM Danny Ainge Trades Isaiah Thomas For Kyrie Irving

Aug 23, 2017

I would so much rather be leading the sports report with news about the Red Sox today, but I can't because Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge dropped the equivalent of an atomic bomb on the basketball off-season with the news that he had traded all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers for their all-star point guard Kyrie Irving.

I could tell you about the stats here, that Irving averaged 25 points per game for the Cavs last year to Thomas' 28 points per game for Boston.

I could mention that the Celtics also sent a very good player in Jae Crowder and a 7-footer in Ante Zizic who's mostly played overseas but could become great in the NBA one day, and a first round draft pick in 2018 to Cleveland for Irving, or I could just get to the point quicker, which is the Ainge just made a monumental terrible, no-good, horrible move with this trade and I cannot imagine what in the world compelled him to do this other than Lebron James somehow learning hypnotism and getting Ainge alone in a room long enough to convince him to take on a player who had wanted out of Cleveland anyway and to send the Celtics' best player and cornerstone of the franchise to play with him in Cleveland.

Look, Irving is a great player. He's been Scottie Pippin to Lebron's Michael Jordan and helped the Cavs win their only NBA championship a couple of years ago. But Thomas was the face and backbone of the Celtics. An extremely popular player who carried the Celtics on his back last year and night after tonight took over games in the fourth quarter. He finished in the top five in MVP voting last year. Yes, his Celtics lost to the Cavaliers in five mostly non-competitive games in the eastern conference finals last year (and by the way, Thomas hurt and didn't play in the last couple of games of that series), but Ainge had traded for some help, getting all-star Gordon Hayward to sign in free agency and he would have taken a lot of the pressure off Thomas to be the big scorer every night, but now we'll never know how that dynamic duo would have clicked.

Irving had demanded a trade from Cleveland, no longer wanting to live in Lebron's shadow and presumably be the superstar himself. Fine. Now, he'll get the chance in Boston. But the cost is far too high and Ainge has now blown up an excellent Celtics squad, trading away other great players including defensive specialist Avery Bradley and a good bench player in Kelly Olynyk in order to get Hayward and there are just four players left on the team from the one that won the eastern conference last year. Oh, and while it's not related to basketball, I'm not real crazy about the fact that Irving literally believes that the earth is flat, and has not been shy about saying so.

Maybe I'm wrong about all this (not the flat earth thing. I'm pretty sure Irving filled in the wrong box on the multiple choice question on that one). Maybe he'll be an improvement over Thomas to the point where, should these two teams meet again in the conference finals Irving will help the Celtics win out where Thomas couldn't. It sure will be interesting when the teams face each other to open the NBA regular season in October. But Ainge seems to have overplayed his hand on this one. I think he just sold the Celtic's soul, and I haven't been this disappointed in Danny Ainge since he refused Bill Walton's invitation to attend a Grateful Dead show even though Larry Bird had agreed to go along.

So, to happier things. The Boston Red Sox got an amazing pitching performance from Doug Fister, who gave up just one hit and threw a complete game in Boston's 9-1 win over the Cleveland Indians last night, so at least there's one thing Boston has over Cleveland this morning. Fister gave up a home run to Francisco Lindor, walked two and hit a batter, but beyond that he looked like a right handed version of Chris Sale, just dominating the Cleveland line-up. The game was still tight at 3-1 Boston until the Red Sox scored three in the seventh and three more in the eighth on a blast by Eduardo Nunez. Jackie Bradley Jr. also went yard in the win.

The Red Sox needed the win to keep their four and a half game lead over the NY Yankees, who pummeled the Tigers in Detroit 13-4 last night. Gary Sanchez homered twice for the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka got the win.

The NY Mets are now officially playing out the string and it can't be much fun for them. They lost 7-4 to the Arizona Diamondbacks last night with Patrick Corbin going eight innings for the dark horse D-Backs, who padded their lead for the National League wild card to half a game over the Colorado Rockies.

The Toronto Blue Jays can join the Mets in already looking to next year. They fell 6-5 to the Tampa Bay Rays last night with Tampa closer Alex Colome giving up a run in the 9th, the first time he's done that in nine appearances, but still getting the save, his league best 37th.

The Vermont Lake Monsters have been on a great run, but they were slowed down by the Lowell Spinners in a 12-5 loss in Massachusetts last night. James Terrell did have a good night for Vermont, going three for four with a two-run homer in the loss.

Thundershowers cut short a match between Canada's Vasek Pospisil and Tommy Haas in the first round of the Stowe Mountain Lodge Classic yesterday, after Pospisil had taken the first set 6-2. Due to the rain additional matches have been added to today's schedule, so it'll be a five-match day today at Spruce Peak.