Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had something to say about the current situation and a possible changing of the guards in the Eastern Conference. Before their game Thursday against the Boston Celtics, Kerr praised the Kyrie Irving-led squad, calling them the “the team of the future” in the Eastern Conference, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The statement was seen as an apparent jab at the Cleveland Cavaliers, who dominated the Eastern Conference in the past three seasons. The Warriors have faced the Cavaliers three times in the NBA Finals, winning twice.

Kerr also praised Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Irving, whom he both called “amazing.” He also lauded Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and big men Al Horford and Aron Baynes. Kerr said they are the pieces that make the Celtics the team to watch in the East. Currently, the Celtics are leading the Eastern Conference with a 12-2 mark. They are riding the momentum of a 12-game winning streak after starting the season with back-to-back losses. The Warriors, for their part, are tied with the Houston Rockets for the best record in the Western Conference with identical 13-3 marks. The Warriors will go for their eighth straight win against the Celtics Thursday. The Cavaliers have a 7-7 record following a close 104-101 win over the New York Knicks.

End of Cavs’ era?

Former NBA forward and current Celtics analyst Brian Scalabrine said the Cavaliers don’t even look like a real basketball team, but said they will make it to the Finals again because of LeBron James. However, one NBA scout did not agree with Scalabrine’s assessment. Speaking to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report, an NBA scout who requested anonymity said that the Cavaliers can easily be beaten early in the playoffs because of their aging rotation and lack of athleticism.

"I think we're seeing the twilight of that group,” the scout said. The scout has a point because Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose are showing their age while James could not carry the team on his back alone. “Age ails them—which is not fixable,” said the scout.

Thomas a big boost for Cavs?

The return of Isaiah Thomas could provide a big lift for the Cavs, especially on offense.

Last season, Thomas averaged 28.9 points per game and carried the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to the Cavaliers. In the offseason, the Celtics traded him, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick for Irving. However, Thomas’ hip injury prevented him from seeing action for the Cavaliers, but he’s expected to return in January.