That could be the first layer of this team to be scrubb…

That could be the first layer of this team to be scrubbed away. The second, and more consequential, would come over the course of the following year. That starts with All-Star Isaiah Thomas, whose name has lately been the subject of trade speculation. But league sources indicate that any talk of dealing Thomas is strictly speculation at this point — the Celtics have had no such discussions. Not yet, at least.

More on Isaiah Thomas Trade

The Celtics’ president of basketball operations appeared Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” and was asked to address a report from ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan that he considered trading his All-Star point guard to obtain another lottery pick ahead of the 2016 NBA Draft. Ainge not only shot down that rumor, but he also detailed why such a move would be foolhardy. “We had eight draft picks and were trying to consolidate our picks to move up or out of the draft,” Ainge said, via CBS Boston. “We were also making plans to go get (free agents) Kevin Durant and Al Horford, so why in the world would we go there without Isaiah Thomas and try to have our best player traded for a lottery pick? It just doesn’t make any sense at all.”
GM Danny Ainge wanted to acquire another lottery selection in addition to the team’s top-3 pick and he dangled everyone on the team in trade discussions, including Isaiah Thomas, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan reports. “Before the draft last year, Danny was trying to get two picks, not just Jaylen Brown,” ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan told Bob Ryan on his podcast (h/t Comcast Sportsnet). “He was on the phone with everybody from coast to coast, and he was offering everybody. That includes Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas, and anything else they needed to get where he wanted to go. There were no untouchables on that team last year.”
The Celtics have one of the NBA’s better backcourts, a nice blend of offense (Isaiah Thomas), defense (Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier) and a burgeoning star capable of both (Avery Bradley). It’s also one of the league’s most affordable, with Bradley ($8.3 million) and Thomas ($6.6 million) making well below market value, and Smart and Rozier on rookie deals. That will change soon. Smart is eligible for an extension in 2017. A $10 million-plus offer will be the starting point of negotiations. Thomas and Bradley will be free agents in 2018, eligible for max salaries of $32.4 million per season. Neither will likely come near that, but understand: This is the ballpark Boston is playing in. The Celtics won’t pay all of them. They can’t pay all of them, not if they want to continue to pursue another impact player. If the Celtics make a significant trade, it will undoubtedly include one or more of their star guards.
Storyline: Isaiah Thomas Trade
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