The toxicity level was so high at one point during this season in Hiroshima that one Cavs player turned and looked at me after one of many particularly ugly winter losses.
The Cavaliers took down the Warriors and won a championship in 2016, but the Irving trade left the team scrambling to retool the roster.
And now, here we are, months later with the Irving-less Celtics up 2-0 on LeBron James and company. It was the kind of game that makes you wonder why LeBron would choose to stay in Cleveland and play for that organization when his current deal expires this offseason.
Even though he is hurt for the playoffs, Irving averaged 24.4 points and 5.1 assists per game for the Celtics this season, and has been an integral leader for the team all year.
The player with the second-worst plus/minus on the Cavs this postseason?
So, as it stands, the Cavs' return package for Irving is Clarkson, Hood, Nance, Zizic and a No. 8 pick. The most valuable piece the team acquired, Brooklyn's unprotected first-round 2018 pick, can't help Cleveland now, partly because it's a draft pick and partly because the Cavaliers made a decision to hold onto it at the deadline instead of moving it for someone like DeAndre Jordan.
That trade unquestionably hurt the Cavaliers franchise in a big way.
General manager Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics speaks with the media during Boston Celtics Media Day on September 26, 2016, in Waltham, Massachusetts. If that's not a bitter pill enough to swallow, it could just be one the pillars of an impending Celtics dynasty.
Through two games, the Celtics have bested the Cavs on both sides of the court despite being without arguably their two most talented players, Irving and forward Gordon Hayward.
As a result, Ainge has received glowing praise for his moves, even by key figures on the Cleveland side.