NBA: Kyrie Irving worth 'heavy price' of trading Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, says Boston Celtics' Danny Ainge

Los Angeles: Boston Celtics executive Danny Ainge said Kyrie Irving's blend of youth, championship experience and sheer skill made him worth the "heavy price" of trading away Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder.

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2016, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, right, looks to drive against Boston Celtics' Isaiah Thomas during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Cleveland. Irving, who asked Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to trade him earlier this summer, could be on his way to Boston as the Cavaliers are in serious negotiations with the Celtics about swapping him for point guard Thomas. Since Irving made his stunning request, the defending Eastern Conference champions have been looking for a trade partner. They may have found the perfect one and could be nearing a deal with the Celtics, said the person who spoke Tuesday night, Aug. 22, 2017, to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)

Kyrie Irving (R) joined the Boston Celtics in a move which saw Isaiah Thomas (L) move to the Cleveland Cavaliers. AP

Irving, who reached the NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers each of the past three seasons — winning the title alongside superstar LeBron James in 2016 — had let the Cavs know he wanted a change and they obliged on Tuesday with a blockbuster deal that sent the 25-year-old to the Celtics.

In exchange, the Cavaliers received Crowder and Thomas — the two-time All-Star who won hearts in Boston with a big game that belied his small stature and his determination to pursue his playoff dream even after the sudden death of his sister in a road accident.

"Trading both guys was tough," Ainge said on Wednesday. "Isaiah had just an amazing season this year, entertained the whole city of Boston and everybody fell in love with him.

"He's such an underdog because of his size and his heart and the spirit with which he plays. It was very challenging to make this decision."

The Celtics also surrendered centre Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round draft pick.

"It's extremely rare to be able to trade for a 25-year-old player that's done what he's done in his career and the offensive weapon that he is," Ainge said.

"We know we're paying a heavy price and love the guys that were here and we really didn't want to give up any of those pieces to make this deal work — but we're excited to have Kyrie."

Updated Date: Aug 24, 2017 11:44 AM

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