CLEVELAND, OH – The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first round pick from the Boston Celtics in exchange for guard Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman announced on Tuesday from Cleveland Clinic Courts.
“This trade needed to include both players and assets that we felt strongly could help us continue to compete for championships and we believe it does,” said Altman. “We look forward to Isaiah, Jae and Ante joining us and also felt that the unprotected first round pick in the deal was very important for us and our future as well.”
“On behalf of the entire franchise, I want to thank Kyrie Irving for the six impressive years he spent in Cleveland wearing the Cavaliers uniform,” said Cavaliers Chairman Dan Gilbert. “From the moment we won the 2011 NBA lottery that put us in position to draft Kyrie to the ‘The Shot’ that sealed our first NBA championship and all of the electrifying play that made him a joy to watch, 'excitement' was always in the air when it came to Kyrie Irving. We wish him and his family well as he moves on to the next phase of his NBA career.”
Thomas (5-9, 185) appeared in 76 games (all starts) for the Celtics in 2016-17, averaging a career-high 28.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 33.8 minutes. He finished as the third-leading scorer in the NBA and had the second highest scoring average in Celtics history, trailing only Larry Bird’s 1987-88 mark of 29.9 points. Thomas also set career highs in field goal percentage (.463), three-point percentage (.379) and free throw percentage (.909, 2nd in NBA) this past season, while setting the team record with 245 three-pointers. An NBA All-Star in each of the last two seasons, Thomas was an All-NBA Second Team selection in 2016-17. He scored at least 20 points or more on 71 occasions, which includes a stretch of 43 consecutive contests hitting that mark (11/19/16-2/26/17), the longest in Celtics history. The six-year NBA veteran out of the University of Washington was originally drafted by Sacramento as the 60th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and has gone on to hold career averages of 19.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists over 441 games (309 starts) with the Kings, Phoenix and Boston.
Crowder (6-6, 235) played in 72 games (all starts) for Boston this past season and averaged 13.9 points on a career-high .463 shooting from the field, including a career-best .398 from three-point range, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steal in 32.4 minutes. He also went .811 from the charity stripe, while scoring in double figures on 54 occasions and posting seven double-doubles. The five-year forward from Marquette was the 34th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by Cleveland before being traded on draft night to the Mavericks. In 383 career games (186 starts) with the Mavericks and Celtics, Crowder has averaged 8.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 23.2 minutes.
Zizic (7-0, 250), who was selected 23rd overall by the Celtics in the 2016 NBA draft, competed internationally with Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul in Turkey and KK Cibona Zagreb in Croatia last season. He took park in five different competitions in 2016-17, which include the Euroleague, Basketball Champions League, Adriatic League, the Turkish BSL and the Croatian A-1 league and played a total of 65 games. In 21 contests for Darussafaka Dogus in the Turkish BSL, Zizic averaged 8.9 points on .688 shooting from the field and 4.3 rebounds in 17.8 minutes per game. Zizic also played in 20 games for Darussafaka Dogus in the Euroleague, helping them reach the quarterfinals after averaging 9.0 points on .649 shooting from the field and 6.7 rebounds in 21.9 minutes. He had his highest scoring average in the Adriatic League for KK Cibona where he averaged 20.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.23 blocks in 29.8 minutes per game. Zizic was named as the 2015-16 Adriatic League Top Prospect which is given to the league’s best young player, aged 22 or under. Previous winners of this award include current NBA players Nikola Jokic and Dario Saric.
Irving (6-3, 193) played in 72 games (all starts) for the Cavaliers in 2016-17, averaging a career-high 25.2 points (11th in NBA) on .472 shooting, including .401 from beyond the arc, 3.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 35.1 minutes. He also shot .905 from the free throw line (3rd in NBA). Irving has spent his entire six-year professional career with Cleveland, appearing in 381 games (all starts) with averages of 21.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.32 steals in 34.2 minutes.