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Podcast: Cavaliers reload at the trade deadline ahead of Paul Pierce night

Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder were shipped out of Cleveland days before their return to Boston on Paul Pierce night. LeBron James’ team reloads with a new cast of role players. Are they now east favorites over Boston again?

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

With a flash on Thursday afternoon, the Isaiah Thomas-Paul Pierce controversy disintegrated into thin air. George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance and Jordan Clarkson filled the Cavaliers’ back court and Thomas/Crowder shipped off to the Lakers and Jazz.

As Cleveland turned its roster upside down with under 30 games remaining, a new cloud of uncertainty hangs over the Cavs, Celtics and Raptors. Deadline day could mark the point that saved or sank the Cavs, with little time to form a team dynamic and solidify James resigning with the team this summer.

With Cleveland taking center stage, and the Celtics sitting silent, I had to talk to Justin Rowan again on the CelticsBlog podcast (download link). In a stunning turn of events, he now views the Cavaliers as the third best team in the east until further notice. In my eyes, they’re prohibitive favorites again.

In episode 26, we discussed the Thomas effect in his short time with the Cavs, Dwyane Wade’s exodus in return for nothing from the Heat and how the new cast of characters will fit around James.

Rowan believes Cleveland gave up too much just to dump Isaiah Thomas, a “cancer” to the Cavaliers. But does maintain LeBron James will stay in Cleveland, due to his satisfaction with the moves.

We got into what the moves the Cavs ripped off mean for Boston, and how both teams match up with Toronto, Justin’s east favorite until further notice, as well as whether a Raptors Finals appearance would be good for the NBA.

As far as getting better, Rowan still only rates Cleveland’s improvement by how well they can compete with Golden State. Lineup-wise, I see potential for them, but a disaster if James leaves thanks to an abundance of long-term money added. All that and more on this week’s CelticsBlog pod. Subscribe here for iTunes, or here for Stitcher to hear all our new episodes.

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