How the Cavaliers-Celtics trade affects the Lakers

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The blockbuster trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics may have effects beyond the two teams involved.

The Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

Despite making for a must-see opening night matchup between Cleveland and Boston, the megatrade changes the foreseen trajectory of LeBron James.

To back up, James has been rumored to be leaving the Cavaliers since the 2017 Finals ended in a second Golden State Warriors championship in three years. Since then, other events have made LeBron’s departure from Cleveland seem all but well, final.

First reports surfaced of James’ wife wanting to move to Los Angeles, then the Cavaliers “parted ways” with GM David Griffith, and then LeBron was spotted at a Los Angeles Lakers Summer League game, next Irving demanded to be traded and James even referred to L.A. as “home” on social media.

All of this made for a convincing argument that LeBron was not only on his way out of Cleveland and heading to the Lakers.

Now, however, he may have a reason to stay put. In short, the reason is Koby Altman, the Cavs’ new general manager. Altman just executed a trade that keeps Cleveland competitive now while helping them build for the future.

Because the Cavaliers got an MVP candidate point guard in Thomas in return for Irving, they’ll remain one of the top teams in the East and still have the same chances of returning to the Finals. But they also got a 2018 unprotected first-round pick that could easily turn into a No.1 selection.

But they also got a 2018 unprotected first-round pick that could easily turn into a No.1 selection.

Having a future top draft pick on the way could be enough in of itself to keep James around, but Cleveland now also has a young center to develop and they have more depth at the forward position with the addition of Crowder.

So those who believe that without a doubt LeBron is headed for the Hollywood hills in 2018, think again. The Cavaliers’ latest move may make the Lakers’ recruitment of James obsolete.

But many L.A. fans weren’t sold on LeBron joining the team to begin with, so those members of the Lakeshow can rejoice for now because the chances of James coming to L.A. just lowered significantly.

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