Posted on July 9, 2017, by Travis Pulver
It appears that the Boston Celtics are going to be ordering a truck for Isaiah Thomas next year. The talented point guard has made it clear that he expects to get paid next season. So, the Celtics are going to have to decide whether the diminutive Thomas is worth the kind of money he is going to demand or if it is time to see what they can get for him.
Will they need to get a Brinks truck for him or a moving truck?
Thomas said it last summer while watching a Celtics summer league game. Recently he echoed the sentiment in his previous statement—he doesn’t just expect to be paid next season. He expects to be paid well.
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“I’m a max guy, so I deserve the max,” Thomas stated recently, via CSNNE. “My time is coming, they know they gotta bring the Brinks truck out. They know that.”
Thomas is aware that he and the team must continue to thrive on the court next season for that to happen. Early expectations are for the Celtics to do just that. But what will be interesting to watch is whether Thomas loses touches to the newly-signed Gordon Hayward. If he does and his stats take a dip, the team could use that against him during negotiations.
His game has improved tremendously over the last two and a half seasons. But during his first three and a half (in Sacramento and Phoenix) he wasn’t anything special. Should his numbers dip next season, the team could look at the last two seasons (22.2 points/game and 28.9 points/game) and call them the aberration.
If they would try that route, he’d just call them out for their bush-league negotiating tactic and test the free agent market. Even though he is just 5’9” and 185 pounds, someone is bound to make him a good offer. His play since joining the Celtics has earned him that.
Will it be in the $30 million range he could get with the Celtics? Probably not. There will probably be some concern over whether he can only shine in Boston.
If his game regresses or the Celtics fail to make a deep run in the playoffs next season he may back off his ‘Brinks truck’ remarks. But then again, he has taken notice of the insane contracts guards are signing these days and really wants one of his own:
“…I’m happy for all the guards and all the other guys getting their money because they deserve it, but my time’s coming.”
It goes without saying that he has outplayed his current contract (four years, $27 million). But has he played well enough to be the third max player on the roster? That is a question only the Celtics can answer.
Should they say yes the Celtics will have roughly $90 million wrapped up in three players on a 15-man roster. That doesn’t leave a whole lot for the rest of the team.
So—the Celtics will have to pay the man and hope they get some really good role players for cheap. Otherwise, they need to trade him. If they are not going to pay him, they would be foolish to let him walk away. They might as well trade him and bank a few more draft picks.