LAND'S END: Larry Beil on future of Cavs Warriors rivalry after Irving trade

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 08:35PM
The future of the Cleveland Cavaliers is uncertain as a massive trade deal changes everything.

CLEVELAND, Ohio - I remember standing on the baseline at Oracle Arena as the confetti came down after the Warriors won the 2017 NBA title -- thinking that we'd see the Warriors and Cavs in the finals four straight times because they were clearly the two best teams in the league.

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Now, I'm not so sure about Cleveland.

The big Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas deal changes everything.

Let's start with Boston. you've got Irving, who has killed the Warriors at times in the past along with new free agent Gordon Hayward. The Celtics have played the Warriors tough in recent years and Brad Stevens spreads the floor like the Warriors do. They will be a problem for years to come.

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On the Cleveland side, I'm not sure how Thomas fits in the long run. He loves to pound the ball and initiate the offence -- well LeBron is the guy that handles the rock in Cleveland.

The bigger problem is that James and Thomas are both free agents after the upcoming season.

James may leave, then -- do the Cavs really want to pay Thomas a max deal of $200 million? They could both leave Cleveland, and then the Cavs would have to rebuild.

So the next trilogy series in the NBA might not involve the Cavaliers at all. It might be Warriors vs. Celtics for years to come.

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