Isaiah Thomas was the breakout superstar of the 2016-17 NBA season as he led the Boston Celtics to the best record in the league. Thomas had a career year that was topped off by being named to the All-NBA Second Team. However, it seems like there are NBA rumors pointing to Isaiah possibly getting traded by the Celtics this summer.
The Celtics have a big decision to make this offseason whether they hold on to Isaiah Thomas, their unexpected superstar, or select future superstar point guard Markelle Fultz with the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Of course, Thomas and Fultz can play together, but there are going to be problems if both of them are retained.
According to Mass Live, Isaiah Thomas is set to become a free agent next summer, and he is expected to get a max contract probably worth around $200 million. The Celtics have the money to retain him, but they also have to give new contracts to Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart in the near future. It puts Boston in a dilemma regarding whether they should trade Thomas.
If the Celtics decided to retain Isaiah Thomas, the team wants to win now and put more pressure on the Cleveland Cavaliers by adding a star like Gordon Hayward, Paul George or Jimmy Butler this summer. But if the Celtics would like to contend for a long time, they need to get rid of Thomas since he won’t be as explosive when he turns 30-years-old in two years. Thomas is also a liability on defense, and his hip injury could slow him down in the long run.
So here are the five potential trade destinations for Isaiah Thomas if the Celtics decide to trade him this summer. It should be noted that these are just the writer’s opinion as the Celtics have denied that they tried to trade Thomas at the deadline when his value was high.
The Mavericks are not interested in going on a full rebuilding process, and they would want to compete in what could be Dirk Nowitzki’s final season. Rick Carlisle managed to make the Mavericks competitive this season despite the poor start and their weak roster. Dallas needs a point guard, and Isaiah Thomas could be the answer.
Thomas, if traded to the Mavericks, will become the team’s No. 1 option on offense. He is going to be surrounded by players like Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry, and possibly Lauri Markkanen, the next German superstar from this year’s draft. As for what the Mavericks can offer, they can trade Yogi Ferrell and a couple of future first round picks.
Unlike the Mavericks, the Nuggets are done rebuilding and are on the precipice of becoming a great team. The Nuggets can become the new Utah Jazz next season if they can acquire a superstar like Isaiah Thomas. The five-foot-nine star instantly becomes the team’s leader and puts the Nuggets to the next level along with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
The Nuggets can include their first-round pick in this year’s draft in a trade package centered on Emanuel Mudiay. If the Nuggets managed to get Thomas, they are going to be a legitimate playoff team that could make it until the second round. Nevertheless, it would be hard to convince the Celtics to let go of Thomas after the season they had.
This may sound crazy, well it’s pretty crazy, but an Isaiah Thomas for Paul George deal between the Celtics and Pacers might work. Thomas and George are free agents at the end of next season and both teams are better off trading them before they can leave for free. The Pacers would take any deal since George is as good as gone because of his desire to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
On the other hand, the Celtics get George as a one-year rental while signing Gordon Hayward in free agency. The Celtics can still compete with the Cavaliers, and they could pull off the upset while also still having a future star like Markelle Fultz. As for Isaiah Thomas, he represents a better leader for the Pacers and could become a building block for Indiana along with Myles Turner.
According to Bill Simmons (h/t NJ.com), a big Celtics fan, suggested a trade that will send Markelle Fultz to Boston in a three-way deal with the Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers. Let’s tweak that a little bit and have a deal between the Celtics and Sixers for Isaiah Thomas and the third overall pick in this year’s draft. The Celtics get two of the top three picks while Philly finally has a superstar to lead Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons in the next step of “The Process.”
The Sixers have been linked to hometown boy Kyle Lowry, but Isaiah Thomas is younger and better than him. Thomas is one of the most clutch players in the league, and he is the perfect leader to lead a very young team. Philly has a great future and they can accelerate “The Process” if they can get healthy and a player like Thomas.
Isaiah Thomas was drafted 60th overall by the Kings in the 2011 NBA Draft. Thomas is one of the biggest draft steals of all time and the Kings have a chance to redeem themselves by re-acquiring Thomas. The Kings are in a new era after trading DeMarcus Cousins at the deadline, and they could become a better team by having a superstar like Isaiah.
The Kings are loaded with assets that might get the Celtics interested, but it all comes down to Thomas wanting to play for Sacramento. Thomas was traded for Alex Oriakhi in 2014 despite averaging 20.3 points in his final season with the Kings. Also, the ownership and front office of the Kings are still one of the worst in the league, but they appear to be heading in the right direction.
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