The Sixers’ home opener just got a lot more interesting.
The Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night traded championship hero Kyrie Irving to Boston for fellow All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft pick the Associated Press reported.
Irving, whose late three-pointer helped Cleveland win the 2016 NBA title, hits the ground running with his new team. The Celtics open the season at Cleveland on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Boston won the Eastern Conference’s regular-season crown last year, but Cleveland dumped the Celtics in the conference finals in five games. Thomas missed the final three games of the series with a hip injury.
The Sixers are one of the NBA’s most interesting young teams with the additions of Markelle Fultz, J.J. Reddick and, fingers crossed, Ben Simmons returning after sitting out last season. The home opener is Friday, Oct. 20 against Irving and the Celtics.
Irving’s request for a trade was a de facto divorce from superstar LeBron James, who is eligible for free agency next season. The two superstars exchanged barbs on social media over the summer following the Cavaliers loss to Golden State in the NBA Finals in five games.
Thomas, 28, averaged a career high 28.9 points per game last season. Irving, 25, is a four-time All-Star whose 25.2 points per game last season also was a career high.
The Sixers first home game against Cleveland is Monday, Nov. 27.