Shootaround (Aug. 26) -- Uncertainty about Isaiah Thomas' hip following physical
This morning’s headlines:
- Uncertainty about Isaiah Thomas’ hip following physical
- Isiah: Thomas ‘hurt’ by trade to Cleveland
- Bogut to Boston?
- Cavs have questions to answer
UPDATE: The Cavaliers are reportedly prepared to seek ‘further compensation’ from the Celtics after Isaiah Thomas’ physical, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Story posting soon on ESPN: After Thomas physical, Cavs planning to seek further compensation before finalizing Irving trade to Boston.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 26, 2017
Uncertainty about Isaiah Thomas’ hip following physical — If you thought the NBA offseason was slowing down, think again. Just days after the announcement of the blockbuster trade between Cleveland and Boston involving Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, last night ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there may yet be ramifications. Specifically, says Woj, there are concerns from the Cavaliers over Thomas, who injured his hip during the playoffs and missed most of the Eastern conference finals:
After All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas underwent a physical examination in Cleveland on Friday, uncertainty over the fitness of his injured hip has Cavaliers officials evaluating the results and considering possible ramifications to the blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics earlier this week, league sources said.
One source involved in the process said on Friday night, “It’s a very sensitive situation.”
Thomas left town Friday after taking the exam.
The Cavaliers still are evaluating the medical information, and no final decision has been made, league sources said.
On Tuesday, the Celtics traded Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for Irving.
In the deal, Cleveland has placed the most value on the 2018 unprotected first-round pick that Boston controls from the Nets, league sources said. Instead of voiding the deal, Cleveland could potentially push for Boston to sweeten it — namely for another draft pick. For now, those are conversations still potentially to be had.
Irving is scheduled to take his physical with the Celtics on Saturday, league sources said.
Isiah: Thomas ‘hurt’ by trade to Cleveland — According to retired Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, the other Isaiah Thomas was “hurt” by his trade from Boston to Cleveland. As Joe Vardon writes on Cleveland.com, while Isaiah should fit in well in Cleveland, it’s tough to leave Boston behind, according to Isiah:
Isaiah Thomas is upset the Boston Celtics traded him to the Cavaliers, who apparently have their work cut out for them to make their new two-time All-Star point guard feel better.
All of that is according to Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas, who said on the MMA Hour in Las Vegas Friday that he spoke to the Cavs’ Thomas and described him as “emotionally…wounded” by the trade.
On Tuesday the Cavs traded Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Nets’ No 1 pick. It was the third time in six seasons in which Thomas has been traded, but this one apparently hurt.
“From a basketball standpoint, he and Kyrie Irving, this will be great for both of them,” Isiah Thomas said. “Both will do well. But it really was like a punch in the gut because it came out of nowhere. Kyrie was expecting a trade, he was prepared for it. And talking to Isaiah the other night, now he’s scrambling, trying to find out where his kids are going to go to school, trying to find a place to live. And it was just so unexpected for him.”
While Irving asked Cavs owner Dan Gilbert to trade him in July because he no longer wanted to play alongside LeBron James, Thomas was coming off a second consecutive All-Star season in which he was third in the NBA in scoring (28.9 ppg) and voted to the All-NBA third team.
Beyond the numbers, it was an emotional ride for Thomas in Boston last season, one in which he played in all 82 regular-season games despite suffering a hip injury that eventually forced him out of the conference finals against the Cavs.
Thomas also lost his sister, who was killed in a car accident just as the playoffs were about to begin. He played with a heavy heart and lifted the Celtics to the championship round.
To have gone through all of that and still be traded, for a player who plays the same position, Isiah Thomas said, it’s going to fall to the Cavs to build some trust with Thomas and make him re-commit to basketball.
“He said he gave his heart and soul to the Celtics,” Isiah Thomas said. “He gave them everything. It’s a business and we all understand that it’s a business, but to have it happen in such a way for him. I think it really hurt him. I think it’s going to be difficult for him to trust again, to give that trust, that loyalty, that love to another organization.
“And I definitely think the Cavs are going to have to do some relationship mending to get him back to the point where he loves being where he’s at. Because he’s a small guy and the thing that gets him over is his love and his passion. And if those things are kind of missing a little bit, it’s going to be hard.”
Bogut to Boston? — Following Boston’s trade with Cleveland, the Celtics now have an open roster spot to fill. And as Adam Himmelsbach writes in the Boston Globe, one candidate for that open role might be Andrew Bogut:
Suddenly, the Celtics had an open roster spot. This shift was good news for players such as Shane Larkin, Abdel Nader, and Daniel Theis, who now must feel more confident that they will make the team. It also made Boston a possible destination for free agents looking for work.
A league source said Boston will not rush to fill the spot, and might even keep it open to maintain flexibility. The Celtics this week have been in contact with representatives of several free agents. According to another league source, that group includes center Andrew Bogut, who considered signing with Boston last February before ultimately agreeing to a deal with the Cavaliers. Bogut broke his leg in his first game with Cleveland, though, and has spent this summer rounding back into form.
The Celtics are over the salary cap, so they will be allowed to offer just a minimum-salary deal that is slotted based on years of experience. That figure maxes out at $2.3 million for a player who has been in the league for at least 10 seasons.
Celtics second-round draft pick Jabari Bird, who showed flashes of offensive potential when he shot 61 percent from the field in the Las Vegas summer league, is still unsigned. But a league source said it remains most likely that Bird will receive a two-way contract that would place him with the G-League’s Maine Red Claws and allow him to spend up to 45 days with the Celtics.
But there are plenty of capable veterans on the market, and the Celtics could even sign two of them if they wish to enter camp with 16 players as originally planned.
Cavs have questions to answer — Meanwhile, over in Cleveland, the Cavs also have a fresh future ahead of them, including a newly-acquired draft pick. As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes, the Cavs still have questions to answers:
“It’s nice to have something to smile about,” a Cavs source told ESPN a day after the Irving trade was consummated.
That sense of accomplishment is understandable after the Cavs had suffered a series of setbacks since losing the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors — from parting ways with GM David Griffin to having a trade for Paul George fall apart to failing to hire Chauncey Billups after courting him for a front-office position.
Securing an appropriate haul for Irving allows Altman to take a much-deserved vacation, but there are still some questions to be answered about his team when he returns.
WILL THOMAS BE READY FOR OPENING NIGHT?
After the trade, Thomas was in Los Angeles completing a shoot with Nickelodeon. He has seven days to report to the Cavs, whose highly regarded medical staff will be waiting to examine Thomas, who also will visit a renowned hip specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Celtics president Danny Ainge told reporters that Thomas’ hip injury, which caused him to miss the final three games of the Eastern Conference finals after having played on a torn labrum, would mean “probably a little bit of delay” as to when the All-Star point guard will be ready to suit up for the 2017-18 season.
If he is sidelined while rehabbing the hip, the Cavs will likely look to Derrick Rose to start. Like Thomas, Rose was acquired this offseason and in the final year of his contract, giving him every incentive to perform at his peak level to earn a new deal.
WHAT WILL THE CAVS DO WITH THE BROOKLYN PICK?
Talk to the Cavs’ decision-makers about the Irving trade and before they bring up the offense that Thomas brings or the defensive versatility of Crowder, they mention the Brooklyn pick as the crown jewel of the package they received from Boston. Quite simply, it opens up endless possibilities. It’s the type of chip that can be sent elsewhere to acquire a talent like DeMarcus Cousins should the New Orleans Pelicans give up on the Anthony Davis pairing, or be dangled to the Memphis Grizzlies should they make Marc Gasol available.
Cleveland can also keep the pick, of course, and hope that the Nets struggle again, thus increasing the odds of the pick being in the top two or three. Brooklyn’s success, or lack thereof, will be a variable that’s constantly monitored next season as the Cavs make plans for that asset. A Cavs source told ESPN that the Brooklyn pick has already pumped new blood into Cleveland’s scouting department. After coming off several seasons without a top-tier pick in their grasp (the Cavs didn’t even have a pick in the 2017 draft), the idea of traveling to big-time college games and tournaments overseas to scout top prospects has energized the organization.
ARE THEY DONE SETTLING THE ROSTER?
The Cavs currently have 17 players under contract for next season when the maximum roster size is only 15. The odd men out would appear to be guard Kay Felder and center Walter Tavares. Starting this season, teams can also sign players to two-way contracts that split those players’ time between the G League, in the Cavs’ case the Canton Charge, and the NBA team. The organization likes both Felder and Tavares, but it would need to waive them to re-sign them to two-way deals. While on waivers, either player could be picked up by another team.
Overall, those moves would be considered a minor tweak. The bigger question is whether there will be another major trade. As long as Carmelo Anthony is still on the New York Knicks, you cannot rule out the possibility of Cleveland being a potential landing point. As ESPN’s Nick Friedell reported this week, with Dwyane Wade’s time in Chicago headed toward an inevitable buyout, Cleveland also could plan to get the roster down to 14 to open a spot to sign Wade once he’s off the Bulls.
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: A few NBA players are in Vegas for Mayweather/McGregor … At 35 years old, Jameer Nelson is still making it in the NBA … Marcin Gortat is all-in on the Wizards next season … According to Brad Stevens, what Isaiah Thomas did in Boston the last few years was “incredible” … Karl-Anthony Towns has some thoughts on what’s happening in the world … Jeff Van Gundy is back on the sidelines.