The hashtag of “DraftBrothers” refers to the fact that both Thompson and Irving were selected by the Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Irving was the top overall selection, followed three choices later by Thompson.
The next six seasons for both players proved to be a study of contrasts, beginning with three painful rebuilding years in which the Cavaliers never reached the postseason.
However, in 2014, the arrival of both LeBron James and Kevin Love changed the trajectory of the franchise, with the Cavs reaching the finals in each of the next four years.
In 2016, Irving and Thompson became part of history as the Cavaliers staged a dramatic comeback in the finals to win the Cavaliers’ first-ever title in seven games. It was Irving’s iconic 3-pointer in the final minute of Game 7 that served as the game-winner.
However, after a Cavs defeat in the finals in 2017, Irving stunned the team by asking for a trade.
He was subsequently dealt to the Boston Celtics, but in two seasons there, injuries and controversies failed to bring the Celtics a championship.
After signing last summer with the Nets as a free agent, Irving again struggled to stay healthy and played in only 20 games before a season-ending injury.
Thompson turned 29 on March 13 and because of the NBA suspension of play, may have played his final game in a Cavaliers uniform.
As an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Thompson could conceivably end up playing with Irving in Brooklyn. Negotiations for Thompson to remain with the Cavaliers have gone nowhere, though there’s no indication that the Nets would pursue the big man.
Like Thompson’s bond with James and Love, his connection with Irving was forged with the Cavaliers. It’s clear that despite no longer wearing the same uniform, that bond remains firm.