Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
That might limit the market for Thomas, a star in his own right who plays at an incredibly deep position around the league and struggles perceptibly on the defensive end. Meanwhile, the market for a talented 29-year-old point guard looking for a “Brinks truck” might not be particularly competitive.
So where will that leave Thomas? It’s not totally clear. The news on Wednesday that he won’t need hip surgery is big, both for him and for the Celtics. His value is also higher in Boston than anywhere else — he’s a local hero and the beating heart of the team’s offense. Boston can go into the tax to pay Thomas, but they won’t be able to open up max cap space again to pursue a free agent (they’ll have to settle for Al Horford and Hayward in consecutive offseasons — a pretty phenomenal haul).
But while the Celtics certainly would like to keep Thomas happy, they won’t negotiate a max deal when they are the only team driving up the market. Kyle Lowry’s deal with the Toronto Raptors this offseason might be a good reference point (if not a perfect comparison): A three-year $100 million agreement that paid Lowry handsomely while limiting the long-term risk for Toronto. The only problem? A deal like that would likely send the Celtics skyrocketing into the tax, with current projections close to $50 million in tax money, assuming a few other factors that include a high Nets pick and a relatively fair deal for Smart. Boston’s owners are far from stingy, but it’s probably worth wondering whether the Celtics are close enough to contending to warrant that kind of money.
Some people earn their living by understanding the infinite nuances of the NBA salary cap; for the rest of us, the cap is just a big pain in the ass.
Every trade and roster move has to be viewed through the prism of “how much does that cost?” That’s why, even if we don’t want to, we have to look ahead to next offseason for the ramifications of Isaiah Thomas’ expiring contract. IT, who has dramatically raised his game since coming to Boston, thus also elevating the Celtics, deserves to get paid. Thomas is on the record saying he believes he’s earned a max contract. However, some fans and media (usually those who can’t get past the 5-foot-8 thing) don’t think he’s worth it, which is why they want to ship him to Cleveland (see the Page 2 item).
According to the MassLive article, though, Isaiah might be disappointed because market factors and timing will work against him. A potential concern, therefore, is how will IT react if he can’t get paid the max after seeing teammates Horford and Hayward cash in. He’s been the team-first guy all along, so it’s probably not an issue. But when money’s involved, who really knows?
On Page 2: The rant is due
I post the Morning Dump once a week, so today was going to be my first opportunity to address the chatter about Kyrie Irving’s trade demand. Last week, I looked at the reactions from media members, and the obvious conclusion was that Kyrie exiting Cleveland would weaken the Cavs and therefore help the Celtics.
Of course, the discussion in the media and on Twitter has since moved to speculating if the Cs should use their pile of assets to go after Irving. That debate has featured crazy trade proposals, the usual complaints about Ainge (i.e., “why won’t ‘Trader Danny’ do something!?!”), and even, shockingly, many calls for the Celts to dump the face of the franchise, Isaiah Thomas.
I was going to use this space today to spell out why trading for Kyrie is a bad idea, and to defend The Little Guy, who last season was second-team All-NBA, fifth in MVP voting, and third in scoring average. (By the way, Kyrie has never come close to any of those levels. Not last year, not ever.)
But then I listened to yesterday’s Locked On Celtics podcast, where John Karalis of Red’s Army and Jay King of MassLive said everything I would’ve written. Every. Single. Thing. I therefore cede the rest of this space to their eight-minute rant, which starts at the 21:28 mark on the audio below. If you are a rational fan, you’ll love every bit of it. (Also recommended: near the end of the pod, Jay’s destruction of the people who tweet crap at Jae Crowder.)
Important: If you’re listening at work, use headphones, because this is absolutely, positively NSFW.
The Rest of the Links:
MassLive – Boston Celtics rumors 2017: Jabari Bird, team working on two-way contract, per report | NBA scouts evaluate Jayson Tatum, point out how Boston Celtics rookie needs to evolve | Abdel Nader cashes in bet on himself with Boston Celtics contract