NBA out­look: Cavs, Celtics best in East

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - (AP)

As star af­ter star mi­grated from the Eastern Con­fer­ence to the West this sum­mer, the lesser of the NBA’s di­vi­sions got so wa­tered down that some spice was badly needed. Kyrie Irv­ing de­liv­ered. The mer­cu­rial guard stunned the rest of the league by re­quest­ing a trade away from Le­Bron James and the Cava­liers and the an­nual trip to the NBA Fi­nals that comes with James. In sub­se­quent in­ter­views since he was traded to the Celtics, Irv­ing has done lit­tle to smooth things over with the game’s best player or the fran­chise that drafted him No. 1 over­all in 2011.

“It’s just re­ally be­tween two men,” Irv­ing said last month when asked if he planned to reach out to James to clear the air. “If it hap­pens or not, I’m pretty sure you guys won’t know about it.”

James didn’t hide his dis­ap­point­ment in Irv­ing’s de­ci­sion af­ter team­ing with him to go to the last three fi­nals and win a cham­pi­onship two years ago.

“I tried to give him ev­ery­thing and give him as much of the DNA as I could,” he said. “At some point, when he was ready to take over the keys, I was ready to give them to him. So, the only thing I’m upset about is he took a lot of the DNA and a lot of the blue­print to Bos­ton.”

James wasn’t the only one upset by the deal.

Isaiah Thomas was deeply wounded by Bos­ton’s de­ci­sion to trade him af­ter an emo­tional and dom­i­nant sea­son, set­ting the stage for a tense fight for con­fer­ence supremacy.

“It def­i­nitely caught me off guard, but it also woke me up,” Thomas said. “It made me re­al­ize that this is a busi­ness and any­body other than prob­a­bly Le­Bron James or Kevin Du­rant or those type of guys can be traded.”

This level of drama and in­trigue is needed in a con­fer­ence that lost Jimmy But­ler, Carmelo An­thony, Paul Ge­orge, Paul Mill­sap and Jeff Teague over the sum­mer.

Le­Bron James

Kyrie Irv­ing

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