When the Cleveland Cavaliers face the Boston Celtics for the first game of the NBA season, expect Derrick Rose to start at point guard.
While it would be exciting to watch Isaiah Thomas face off against his former squad, fans will have to settle for the match-up of LeBron James against longtime teammate Kyrie Irving.
On his podcast, here is what ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski told Bobby Marks earlier today (via The Woj Pod):
“Of course they want Isaiah to play well this year. They need him if they’re going to achieve at a high level or win the East again. They knew that he was very unlikely to start the season. We know now he’s not going to be ready to start the season.”
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman previously reported that while doctors for the Celtics believe Thomas may miss one month, specialists for the Cavaliers think the point guard could miss the entire season.
While his contract was able to help make the trade happen so the salaries for both teams could line up, Thomas will enter the final year of his deal this upcoming season.
This means if he misses the entire year for Cleveland, there’s a chance he never plays a game for his new team. However, Marks explains that doesn’t mean the Cavs made a mistake in dealing Irving.
“To compare the Boston package to maybe a team like Phoenix or we’ve heard Milwaukee, I never thought that you were able to get the same amount of value. And that takes into account if Isaiah Thomas never steps on the court in Cleveland this year.”
It seems the Suns would have likely offered a package centered around Eric Bledsoe. The Bucks were rumored to be involved before the Celtics finalized a deal. However, talk of them jumping back in if a deal fell apart with Boston may have been exaggerated.
We’ve previously written about the value of Jae Crowder as well as the pick from the Nets. This proves the agreement was less about Thomas and instead more about the other assets acquired by Cleveland.
Rose knew the state the team was in with Irving before he agreed to sign his deal this offseason. The former NBA MVP had discussed potentially starting for the Cavs. Cleveland would likely have James run the offense while Rose, who has played at least 30 minutes a game during each season of his NBA career, plays more off the ball.
Later in the podcast, Wojnarowski mentioned Cleveland could trade for another point guard if Thomas is hurt. However, he does not think there is a guard out there to match this description.