When the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics agreed on a blockbuster deal that would send Kyrie Irving to Boston for guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick, it sent shock waves through the NBA. The East’s two top teams had taken part in one of the biggest trades in recent memory, a deal that had plenty of ins and outs.
LeBron James and Dan Gilbert thanked Irving for what he did during his time in Cleveland and we here at WFNY even thanked him, explained how he shouldn’t be booed when he returns to The Q, and talked about how we will miss him.
But eight days later, while the two teams have welcomed their new additions to their squad on social media, the trade has yet to be officially official. Why is that, you ask?
Just like any other trade, players have to pass a physical with their new team. That’s where there were problems. Thomas, who re-aggravated his right femoral-acetabular impingement and tore his labrum during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavs, couldn’t quite pass all the way through the physical. Cleveland knew the hip injury was bad, but not that bad.
Boston made it seem like the point guard could miss the start of the season, but the Cavs are questioning whether Thomas can even play during the upcoming season or even play at a top level at any point during the rest of his career. Due to this, the trade has yet to go through and many seem to think that the wine and gold are looking for the Celtic to add more to the deal in order to compensate for the questions surrounding Thomas’ hip. While names like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been floating around, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that the Cavs are no longer seeking any other top players or significant picks from Boston.
Cleveland and Boston officials started to engage each other on a solution Tuesday, league sources told ESPN. The Cavs are no longer seeking one of the Celtics’ top young players, but they are still determined to land one of Boston’s first-round picks as compensation, and the conversation has included second-round considerations, too, league sources said.
Let’s take a look at the additional picks that Boston can offer the Cavs along with the Nets’ first-rounder:
- Lakers’ 2018 first round pick (protected No. 1, 6-30)
- Boston’s own 2018 first rounder
- Boston’s own 2018 second round pick (only if it’s 55-60)
- Grizzlies’ first rounder (protected 1-8 in 2019, 1-6 in 2020, unprotected in 2021)
- Clippers’ first round pick (protected 1-14 in 2019 and 2020, will receive 2022 second rounder if not used by then)
- Boston’s own 2019 first rounder
- Boston’s 2019 second round pick (must be 31-54)
- Boston’s own 2020 first rounder
- Boston’s own 2020 second round pick
- Heat’s 2020 second rounder
Whether it’s additional compensation or not, the two teams better hurry because league rules state that players involved in the deal must pass their physical by 10 a.m. ET Thursday.
The deadline to report and submit to a physical for the players involved in the trade is 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, and the deadline to pass the physical is 10 a.m. ET Thursday, per league rules.
Everything else seems to be fine except for Thomas, who is holding up the deal from going through. In an interview with Woj, the 28-year-old had plenty of things to say about not only his injury, but the trade as well.
Going into the final year of his contract, Thomas is hoping to sign a max deal next summer. That comes after he had the best season of his career last season while averaging 28.9 points per game, being named an All-Star, becoming one of the league’s elite point guards, and leading the Celtics to the East Finals. Even with the hip injury, he believes that he will be the same player he was prior to the injury once he returns to the court.
“There’s never been an indication that I wouldn’t be back, and there’s never been an indication that this is something messing up my career,” Thomas said of his hip injury. “Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I’m going to be back, and I’m going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that.
“I haven’t had one doctor tell me that this injury is going to hurt my career,” Thomas said. “Surgery was not the best option in this case. I aggravated it in March when [Minnesota’s] Karl-Anthony Towns fell on me. I kept playing on it and making it worse — until I couldn’t play anymore last season.”
Obviously, you can say that Thomas is just saying this because he wants teams to believe he will be able to return to 100 percent in order to sign that max deal next summer. But, if he is true to his word, it’s just a matter of when he will be able to come back and play. With James also entering the final year of his deal and with the Cavs eyeing a fourth-straight Finals appearance, the wine and gold want Thomas to be able to contribute sooner rather than later.
He, along with the other players involved in the trade, took their physicals last Friday, yet here we are five days later, still with no word on what’s going to happen. Although Thomas somewhat understands, he is frustrated as well.
“I don’t know what [the organization] is doing,” Thomas told ESPN. “It’s out of my control. I just want to talk about what I can control, and I know that this [hip] won’t be a problem into the future.”
Like many Cavs fans, Thomas seems to be confused as to why the entire deal hasn’t been agreed upon and passed by the NBA yet. With league rules mandating that it must be done soon, it looks as though we will find out if the Cavs get additional compensation, just let the original deal go through, or void the deal altogether sooner rather than later as the deadline is fast approaching.