“I am not damaged,” Thomas told ESPN on Tuesday. “I’ll be back, and I’ll be the same player.”
One week ago
Just ONE week ago
Everyone on the internet was congratulating Koby Altman for the heist of the century. The rookie GM had apparently “won” a trade with Danny Ainge.
He’d secured a two-time All Star, a highly valuable contributor on a discount contract and an unprotected draft pick from a team projected to finish if not in the bottom five then darn close to it.
And all he had to give up was a player he was going to have to trade anyway, and for which his second best offer was a mid-tier first rounder and a couple of role players.
The Boston fanbase was shocked.
Isaiah Thomas was devastated.
Jae Crowder was shocked.
Was IT’s hip injury a bit of a concern? Yes. But IT is also a few years older than Kyrie and entering the final year of his contract.
During the conference call to discuss the trade, Ainge–when asked about IT’s hip–said that although it was something of a concern, that “he should be fine.” Ainge said what the Celtics have been saying all summer: That they expect him to make a full recovery from his injury.
Then, out of nowhere late Friday night comes a report that the Cavs were ‘troubled’ by the results of IT’s physical.
And just like that, Boston hadn’t traded a two-time All-Star who had just put together one of the most impressive seasons in the history of the league’s most decorated franchise.
Nope. Just like that, the narrative was that Boston had traded a player with a potentially career-ending injury.
The immediate public perception was that IT was ‘damaged goods’, that perhaps Boston had been hiding something, that Cleveland’s doctors had reason to believe that IT wouldn’t make a full recovery.
People kind of started to talk about IT in the past tense.
Fast forward to Monday: Guess what? The Cavs saw NOTHING when they examined IT that they had not been previously informed of by Boston’s medical team.
And now where are we Tuesday night?
We’ve reached a point where a two-time all star, the “King in the Fourth”, the little guy who put together a season unlike any other in nearly thirty years of Celtic history, this guy, who had to fight for everything until he got to Boston and found people who had confidence in him, this guy is having to do an interview with Woj where he says “I’m not damaged goods.”
That the Cavaliers management have done this to Isaiah is absolutely, completely, totally and utterly without justification. There is no excuse for what the Cavs did to Isaiah over the past four days.
Because now, it turns out, the Cavs have let it be known, through Woj, that they’ll conclude the trade if they can get a ‘late first round or second round pick’, and that they will no longer be demanding a young player as ‘additional compensation.’
‘ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION’ FOR A PLAYER WHO WAS EXACTLY WHAT BOSTON REPRESENTED HIM TO BE.
This is extortion, this is a shakedown, this is buyers’ remorse, this is trying to get one more bite of the apple.
Nobody involved in these negotiations on Cleveland’s side is innocent here. Nobody on the Cleveland side has done a damn thing to ease the pounding that IT’s reputation has taken over the past week.
The only thing that Cleveland has done is take a world-class player in a delicate situation and try to exploit him for one more little trinket from Boston.
The overabundance of greed and the lack of humanity that the Cavaliers front office has displayed here is staggering. Even in a business that is as full of hypocrites, manipulators and arrogant self-centered bastards as professional sports, Cleveland’s conduct stands out.
I hope Isaiah kills it for the Cavs this season. I hope he shows them everything he showed Boston.
And then, when Altman and Gilbert come around trying to sign him to another contract I hope he turns his back on their toxic waste dump of an organization and walks right out of town.
He deserves better than what the Cavaliers did to him, and as for the Cavs front office? They deserve the wreckage of a team they’re going to have next season when IT and Lebron are both gone, and after they’ve blown the Nets pick on another Anthony Bennett.
FREE JAE CROWDER