The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly at a standstill after originally agreeing to swap Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving.
The Cavaliers received Jae Crowder as well as Ante Zizic and a first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets. But there is concern over the health of Thomas, their new starting point guard, after a hip injury.
Thomas, already upset that Boston traded him, would presumably not feel comfortable playing for the Celtics after getting shipped to the Cavaliers. However, his injury may be worse than expected as he reportedly has not started running yet during his recovery.
If Thomas is not going to play to start the season, Boston may want to make sure to do whatever they can to make sure a trade is reached as Irving gives them a competitive advantage in the Eastern Conference.
Similarly, the Cavaliers may agree to a deal to keep the unprotected first-round pick from the Nets considering this can help them rebuild if LeBron James leaves Cleveland.
But if the Celtics do not agree to add more assets, they will be forced to walk away from the deal without Irving. Here is how Adrian Wojnarowski explained the present situation to keep the trade alive (via ESPN):
“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.”
Renogiation is considered more likely than canceling the agreement. These are some of the assets Boston can add to make a trade official.
Memphis Grizzlies Draft Pick (2019)
Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer tweeted “don’t be surprised” if the Cavaliers get another pick from Boston. This seems like the fairest option. It’s top-eight protected but could still add solid value.
Their Own 1st-Round Draft Pick
The Celtics are not allowed to put benchmarks on a draft pick based on player performance. ESPN’s Bobby Marks explains this as saying that Boston cannot send a draft pick to Cleveland if Thomas does not reach a certain number of games played next season.
However, if they do include their own presumed late first-round draft pick for next season, perhaps that would be enough to help persuade the Cavaliers to say it’s worth taking on Thomas even with his injured hip.
Kurt Helin explained why he does not think the Celtics would add a pick from the Lakers, Kings or Sixers (via NBC Sports):
“I can’t see Boston surrendering the Lakers/Kings/Sixers pick that will be very high in the next two years (the Lakers pick in 2018 if it is 2-5; otherwise the better of the Kings/Sixers pick in 2019 unless it is No. 1, then the lesser of the two) … But one of their own picks? The Clippers 2019 or 2020 first rounder (lottery protected)? More likely, Boston has a series of second rounders. There are options.”
According to Helin, Cleveland can hope for a first-round pick from the Clippers in 2019 or 2020. Otherwise, they would likely get second-round picks in return.