Cavs to try and pry Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum from Boston Celtics

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 09: Jayson Tatum
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 09: Jayson Tatum /

The Cleveland Cavaliers will try to pry Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum away from the Boston Celtics as they seek additional compensation for Kyrie Irving.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cleveland Cavaliers will inquire about two of the Boston Celtics’ young guns, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, as they try to receive additional compensation for Kyrie Irving amidst growing concern over Isaiah Thomas’ hip.

Quote transcribed by NESN’s Joshua Schrock:

"“Now, Cleveland is going to try to inquire about a couple of the Celtics young players, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, who they tried to get in the original trade, that is very unlikely, Wojnarowski said. But Boston still has a war chest of future first-round picks of their own, and some picks they control from other teams, and Cleveland is going to try to get one more of those to finalize this deal.”"

With Thomas nearing 30-years-old, on the final season of his contract and recovering from a serious injury, it would be in the Celtics’ best interest to move Thomas. That’s especially true if they’re receiving Irving, a MVP-level talent, in return.

The Celtics, who have already offered Thomas, Jae Crowder and the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick in 2018, are perceived to have given up a king’s ransom for a player who was once the crowned prince of Cleveland. Adding in Brown or Tatum to appease the Cavs would seem like overkill and the idea that the Celtics would resist adding in a sweetener is sensible.

However, the big, looming question is if the Celtics want the young, superstar talent in Irving or to have to deal with the contract demands of Thomas at the end of the season? While they may not admit it publicly, considering the concerns that they’ll have about his age and health, probably not.

That’s the factor the Cavs will have to bank on when trying to pry Brown or Tatum from the Celtics. Both are promising young wings who could be the face of a franchise one day.

Brown, an athletic wing with confidence and potential to be a two-way player, averaged 8.6 points per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from three-point range after the All-Star Break. For a rookie, those numbers weren’t bad.

Tatum has already shown the ability to be an elite scorer at the small forward position.

After adding muscle, he’ll likely be able to play three positions (shooting guard and both forward spots). Those are gifts that will earn him a lot of money and notoriety in the league.

In addition, while the Cavs likely have a preference between the two, they both serve the same purpose for the future of the franchise.

In the event that James leaves the team next summer, they can already have a successor in place for the King.

The first-round pick from the Nets could serve the same purpose with small forwards like Michael Porter and Luka Doncic predicted to be selected in the top five of the 2018 NBA Draft. Nonetheless, if Brown or Tatum lands on the team the Cavs can use the pick to select a point guards to replace Thomas after his deal expires or use the pick in a trade package so that they acquire one of the league’s best players.

It’s certainly a lot for the Celtics to give up but after signing Gordon Hayward in the summer, they don’t look to be a team that’s in the process of rebuilding. Yet, by keeping Thomas, that’s more or less what the Celtics would be setting themselves up for next year.

In addition, they’d have a logjam at small forward with Hayward, Crowder, Brown and Tatum all on the roster and deserving of minutes but not equipped to play heavy minutes at power forward. That’s a possibility that Danny Ainge has surely considered as well.

So, should the Celtics cave in to the Cavs offer or risk having to rebuild, starting next year?

Swallowing your pride is a hard thing to do to but it seems like the Celtics’ best, if not only, option.

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