Morrow: Cavs, Celtics stuck in fascinating standoff

Kyrie Irving (right) says Isaiah Thomas (left) will receive a warm welcome from Celtics fan when he returns to Boston on Wednesday night.

Is Isaiah Thomas a Celtic or Cavalier? It’s not often that such a standard question is tricky to answer.

Thomas, in case you somehow haven’t heard, was traded to the Cavs along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the 2018 Brooklyn Nets’ first-round draft pick, in exchange for Kyrie Irving. The top two teams in a conference swapping All-Star point guards is something that just doesn’t happen; the situation was plenty weird already, and got even weirder after Thomas underwent his physical.

It seems that Thomas’ hip injury is more serious than Cleveland anticipated. Now, the Cavs want another asset from the Celtics to sweeten the deal, but Boston doesn’t want to give up anything else.

What we’re left with is a bizarre but fascinating situation. Neither the Celtics nor the Cavs have any real leverage. Here’s how I imagine the conversation between Celtics GM Danny Ainge and Cavs GM Koby Altman went:

ALTMAN: Hey, this hip injury is more serious than we thought.

AINGE: OK, well just accept the deal anyway. We gave you Crowder and the Nets pick. The Nets are not very good, we got the first overall pick from them last year.

ALTMAN: I mean, yeah, but now they have some guys who could maybe be good like D’Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll and Allen Crabbe.

AINGE: Those guys might be bad.

ALTMAN: They could be good, though.

AINGE: I guess. Still, though, are you really going to get more for a point guard who, practically publicly, demanded a trade? Now it looks like he doesn’t want to play in a winning situation, which lowers his value a ton. Even if the Nets are, like, semi-decent and you end up with like the sixth pick, that plus Crowder, on an amazing contract, is great value for you. Plus, maybe Isaiah does make a full recovery.

ALTMAN: Sure, but we know LeBron might leave so we need a lot of assets for the future. The Nets pick could be great, but can you just throw in like Tatum or Jaylen Brown or that Lakers/Kings pick?





So, yeah. I’m not sure which side budges on this one because both have valid arguments. Boston doesn’t want to give up too much in exchange for Irving, and another big asset would be too much. On the other hand, Cleveland needs to contend this year while simultaneously preparing for a bleak future in which LeBron James and Thomas both leave in free agency.

The Cavs might have a bit more leverage, because if the trade doesn’t go through, they’ll be able to find another suitor for Irving. Maybe Phoenix, Denver or Minnesota?

Boston, on the other hand, would walk away from a failed trade with an extremely disgruntled Thomas in the locker room. In Thomas, you’ve got the biggest sports hero in the city of Boston, non-Tom-Brady category.

In trying to trade him, the Celtics have essentially shown the epitome of “there’s no loyalty in sports.” I doubt that Thomas would be remotely amenable to playing hard for the Celtics after this transgression. Crowder would probably feel similarly. Ainge has to be feeling a ton of pressure to get rid of both players.

There has to be a middle ground here. Maybe Boston throws in its own 2018 first-rounder, with a top-20 or -25 protection? We’ll see how things turn out.

9 Comments on "Morrow: Cavs, Celtics stuck in fascinating standoff"

  1. Again, that draft pick(Brooklyn pick) should not solely valued as such a key cog. Look, if the cavs lose Lebron we will top 3 picks for the next 3-5 years. So, that argument is weak for Boston. We need a player to help now and a 1st round pick. Now, maybe Celts give Tatum and get Brooklyn pick back and give a lesser 1 with Tatum that could be a compromise,but to lose a key player who was suppose to help get the cavs back to the finals for a protected 1st round pick is weak at best, and if that is all Boston is willing to offer then void the deal and look at other deals. I am sure other teams who liked Irving will view thism opportunity as a second chance to land him and may ante up this time around.

  2. That brooklyn pick is equivalent to 1 superstar are you kidding me.

  3. Here’s my take. Lebron told cavs he doesn’t like the trade because Kyrie Irving in boston would be kyries best chance of ousting Lebron. So I would not be surprised if the trade is VETOED and cavs taking less for kyrie from other teams. Boston will be good regardless if the trade goes through or not. Ainge got this!

  4. Brian Buonanni | August 28, 2017 at 4:46 am |

    You need to give up on the deal. Celtics are better with the players they gave up.We will survive. How about LBJ and Irving?

  5. anyone in Cleveland who think ainge is gonna give up tatum is delusional, but madmike is downright insane, no way does he give up tatum and a 1st, u just lol funny, boston has the leverage it, crowder, zizic and bkn pick is better then anyone else will give them, boston can walk away and it will play hard he is in his contract year, crowder well he is easily traded elsewhere for more assets if needed, boston just didn’t want to trade him before, but easily could do so. to act like boston has less leverage then a team that has a player who will hold out is ridiculous and to think ainge will add anything other then a 2nd rounder is delusional

  6. It’s highly likely that the Cavs already have another better deal in place with a different team… hence all the more reason why they wanted to void this deal in the first place… right now they are just seeing if Boston will up the assets to match whatever the other deal is. The only question is… who is the other team we’ve been talking to? I’m hoping it’s Phoenix. Bledsoe and Jackson will make us forget all about that Nets pick. The rest of Boston’s offer was them trying to dump players that they no longer needed onto us. They just drafted Tatum this year and also Brown last year… 2 players who will both take all of Jae Crowder’s minutes… so they figure they can afford to lose Crowder. Same thing with Thomas… they knew if they got Irving that they could afford to lose Thomas, and they obviously would rather pay Irving instead of paying Thomas a max deal. Nice lowball strategy from Boston but luckily Thomas’ hip was worse than we thought. The sooner we can void this trade, the better.

  7. Lame attempt at a script. Come on. Why trade to your biggest competition?

  8. Look what Ainge got for players he was phasing out anyway.
    If Crowder has such a great contract, move him. I would rather get assets for Crowder than give assets to dump Shump who is almost the same guy.

Comments are closed.