The 2016-2017 NBA season belonged to Isaiah Thomas. He was the King of the Fourth Quarter. Thomas even led the Boston Celtics to the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference that was home to Lebron James. Nobody believed that IT4 and the Celtics could make it far in the playoffs, but they still made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. After the Celtics were knocked out of the playoffs, it was discovered that Thomas had been playing the latter half of the season with a bad hip injury. That hip injury cost Thomas millions of dollars and after a turbulent season with the Cavs and Lakers, Thomas is now a free agent. In the offseason where he expected to get a max contract, he’ll be lucky to get 15 million. Knowing this, Isaiah has made it known that he would come back to Boston on a “prove himself” 1-year contract, and then get big money next offseason.
Why Celtics Fans should want Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah returning would be the feel-good story of the summer. First, the Celtics screwed him over last offseason when they traded him to Cleveland. Danny Ainge knew about Thomas’ injuries and shipped him off in a deal that returned Kyrie Irving. Thomas didn’t make his debut until the 37th game of the NBA season. His injury was already a bad look for him and playing second or third fiddle behind Lebron failed to help Isaiah. Also, Isaiah and Boston have a strong mutual love for each other. Even after he was traded, Isaiah would consistently make comments that hinted at him missing Boston. He’d say things such as “In Boston we were a much better defensive team. We tried harder”. He would never say that unless Boston was still on his mind. Lastly, Isaiah would be cheap for one year. Considering he loves Boston and it would be a prove yourself year, Thomas would take a great discount to wear the Celtics green. For a contract around 5 million a year, IT4 is insanely valuable.
Why Celtics Fans should not want Isaiah Thomas
While the return of Isaiah Thomas may make the general Celtics fan happy, the avid Celtics fan should know it isn’t a good fit. To start, the Celtics are very guard heavy. It is expected that Marcus Smart will return next season, making the guard rotation be Irving, Rozier, and Smart. The addition of Thomas to that is just ridiculous. All those guys need minutes and just makes no sense to have all 4. Then, Boston must deal with Isaiah’s defensive deficiencies. His lack of defense was fine when he was the identity of the team, but now the identity of the Celtics is defense. Boston was a top 2 defensive team last season and I’m not sure they’d enjoy the defensive drop off that comes with Isaiah Thomas. Finally, his hip is still an issue. Isaiah hasn’t been able to fully heal his hip mainly because of the Celtics trainers. The trainers told him he was good to go and had him play on it in the playoffs. Thomas missed the final 11 games of last season because of his hip. Thomas seems like he’d be more risk than reward upon returning to the Celtics.
Will Isaiah Thomas sign in Boston?
In reality, Thomas probably won’t sign with Boston. He has been in talks with Orlando, but those seem to have fallen short. The Hawks and Bulls have cap room to sign him, but they’re both looking to tank next season, so it wouldn’t make sense to go to one of those teams. Then, the Kings seem to want to try and sign anyone they can. With that said, I could see him returning to the team that drafted him. The Mavericks have the cap space to sign Isaiah, but the fit doesn’t make sense with them having Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic there already. If Thomas runs out of options and nobody wants to sign him, a Boston return could become reality. Thomas would need to sign a near minimum contract with Boston, but I’m sure he’d love to do that. Just remember that Boston signing Isaiah Thomas, is not a wise decision.
-Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)