The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics are reportedly at a standstill about finalizing their swap of Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas.
Yahoo’s Chris Mannix believes the Celtics will “draw a line in the sand” and may part with a second-round pick. However, first-round picks, as well as top young players including Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, are unlikely to be in the deal.
Tatum is the player who the Celtics valued No. 1 overall in the draft and Brown is one of the smartest people in the league who could eventually take over as president of the NBPA. Both players were selected in the top three of their draft class and neither is considered a “throw in” piece of an acquisition.
While a doctor for Boston believes Thomas is projected to miss one month of action, the specialist for Cleveland thinks he may miss the entire season. It is important to note he is in the final year of his contract. As such, Thomas could leave after the season.
This means it’s possible he may never play a game for the Cavaliers if the injury is worse than initially expected. NBA analyst Jeff Zillgitt explained why he believes the trade will still happen regardless (via USA TODAY Sports):
“Cavs love the Brooklyn pick, Crowder’s two-way play and Celtics don’t want situation where IT is back. Hard to see deal falling apart.”
Thomas reportedly has not started running yet during his injury recovery, which is terrible news for Cleveland. Jason Lloyd reports the original deal was their “best offer” and won’t include anything more in a trade.
If Thomas is unavailable for the season, the Cavaliers can offer more playing time to newly signed free agent Derrick Rose. Each season of his eight-year professional career, Rose has played more than 30 minutes per game.
Even if his injury leaves Thomas a different basketball player than we have seen in the past, Crowder and the first-round pick from Brooklyn may be valuable in their own right for Irving — who wanted out of Cleveland.
The two sides have until Wednesday evening to finalize a deal unless they decide to extend the deadline.
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