Danny Ainge had to pull the trigger. The gulf between the Cavs and Celtics in the conference finals last year was enormous. Boston couldn’t match Cleveland’s firepower, whether in the halfcourt or in transition. The NBA is all about scoring, and if you have enough elite two-way players like Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on your team, you have a chance to be able to play enough defense to win big. The Celtics had very good defenders in Crowder and Amir Johnson, but you couldn’t start two non-scoring threats against the Cavs. Kyrie Irving is the best — the best — player in the league with the basketball. Better than Westbrook, who’s electric and fierce, and John Wall, who’s a blur. There’s no one who can stay in front of Irving; he goes from zero to scalding in about four seconds.
Guys go down next to LeBron James year after year, yet very little has stopped the party since 2007 -- and not at all since 2010. And while a whole lot of people got their knickers twisted when Cleveland temporarily braked the deal, the end result was as good as anyone in Northern Ohio could expect, given the complete lack of leverage the Cavaliers had once Irving’s trade demands and unhappiness became public. (No, Koby Altman’s future as a GM isn’t ruined; everyone around the league knows the straight jacket every Cleveland exec is in, with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert driving the bus. Hey, he paid for the bus; he can drive it if he wants. Altman did a hell of a job getting what he got.)
But that doesn’t mean this whole rigmarole with Irving sits well in JamesWorld. You don’t chase Michael Jordan’s ghost with fresh new faces; you need grunts like the guy who went all over France looking for Private Ryan. Irving had earned his stripes and LeBron James was expecting a grand pursuit of Paul George or Jimmy Butler this summer to close the gap with the Golden State Warriors, not losing one of his best teammates and having to scramble.
Anyway, James can afford to be sanguine about his future. Wherever he plays, championship opportunities follow. The Cavs don’t have that luxury. Which is why they were never going to blow up the proposed deal from the Celtics. That deal held the key to their future -- their post-LeBron future. There was no chance they were going to walk away from that. The unprotected 2018 pick, whether it’s the first pick next June or the fifth, gives Cleveland a chance at a pre-20-year-old talent that it never would have a shot at through the rest of this decade, and probably well into the next.
“I’ll leave it to your own imaginations to realize how difficult that conversation might have been—for me and Isaiah,” Ainge said after the trade. “Isaiah had just an amazing season this year and entertained us all—the whole city of Boston, and everybody fell in love with him. You know, he’s such an underdog because of his size and his heart and his spirit in which he plays. It was very challenging to make this decision.” An agent texted me that “Danny would trade his son Austin if he had to.”
Thomas was never the focal point of these negotiations from the Cavs’ perspective, one source with knowledge of the talks told The Athletic. From the start, the Cavs made clear to the Celtics that James’ uncertain status beyond this season left them prioritizing restocking the cupboards in the event he leaves again.
Gilbert’s fingerprints were all over the drama that’s unfolded over the past week. Thomas’s health is what held up the deal, but according to multiple league sources with knowledge of Cleveland’s thought process, the unprotected Nets pick and Crowder were the pieces that Cleveland valued the most—those were the assets that got the deal done, not Thomas. The perception of the trade was that the Cavaliers and Celtics swapped franchise point guards, but for the Cleveland front office (and its owner), Thomas was the icing, not the cake.
The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers this evening jointly announced the following: In conjunction with finalizing the trade involving Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a 2018 1st round pick the Celtics acquired via Brooklyn, the Celtics and Cavaliers have agreed to modify the terms of the trade such that Boston will also send Miami’s 2020 2nd round pick to Cleveland.
Gary Washburn: Have been told that Kyrie is "ecstatic" about the trade, looking forward to playing for Brad Stevens and understand the #Celtics tradition.
The Celtics resisted the Cavaliers' desire for a first-round pick to compensate the Cavs' reluctance to sign off on Isaiah Thomas' hip injury, and Cleveland finally agreed to consummate the deal late Wednesday night. Irving is scheduled to be introduced at a news conference in Boston on Friday, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Boston is sending Cleveland a 2020 second-round pick to complete the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade, league source tells ESPN.
Joe Vardon: The Cavs and Boston have reached agreement; Boston will send Miami's 2020 second round pick, league source says
David Aldridge: Cavaliers valued Brooklyn ’18 pick too much to potentially blow up deal w/ Boston. Question now is how long Thomas will be out.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Story posting soon w/ @McTen: Within hours of 10 AM deadline, Cleveland still pursuing 1st-round pick to complete Irving/IT trade w/ Boston.
So, the Cavaliers and Celtics are discussing how to complete their trade, which is held up by Thomas’ physical. Will the Cavs request another pick? If they don’t get it, will they void the deal entirely? Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin on NBA TV: “Sometimes in these situations, you think of it as mutually assured destruction. There’s not a lot of upside to deal coming undone for either side. And because of that, I think it will end up going through as is.”
The Cleveland-Boston standoff over Isaiah Thomas's health also signaled the rest of the league: The bidding for Kyrie Irving is still open. It looks unlikely the Cleveland Cavaliers will pry a better haul than the Boston Celtics' standing offer of Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected pick in the 2018 draft -- even with Thomas' status so uncertain due to a lingering hip injury. That may embolden Boston to draw the line at one or two more second-round picks after Cleveland finally asked them Tuesday night for extra compensation.
Boston was forthright about the injury in talks with Cleveland before the teams agreed to a trade on Aug. 22, sources say, but Cleveland's doctors may come to a different conclusion about Thomas' prognosis for the coming season -- the last before LeBron James enters free agency as a flight risk again. If recovery from various hip ailments, including a bone bruise, does not proceed smoothly, there is at least a slight chance Thomas would miss most of the 2017-18 season, sources say. (Thomas disagrees.)
All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas believes he will fully recover from a right hip injury that has threatened to void his recent trade to Cleveland. Thomas, who was dealt by the Boston Celtics to the Cavaliers last week for star Kyrie Irving, told ESPN he has made progress in his recovery. "I am not damaged," the 28-year-old said. "I'll be back, and I'll be the same player."
Thomas told ESPN that doctors said his torn labrum will not affect how long he plays. However, Thomas did indicate he may not be ready for the start of the season. "There's never been an indication that I wouldn't be back, and there's never been an indication that this is something messing up my career," he said. "Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I'm going to be back, and I'm going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that."
"I haven't had one doctor tell me that this injury is going to hurt my career," Thomas said in the ESPN interview. "Surgery was not the best option in this case. I aggravated it in March when (Minnesota's) Karl-Anthony Towns fell on me. I kept playing on it and making it worse — until I couldn't play anymore last season."
Given how far along the two sides are and what the Cavs are getting in return for disgruntled point guard Kyrie Irving -- Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn's 2018 unprotected first round pick -- former Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin believes protege Koby Altman should proceed as planned, saying he would make the same deal if still running the front office. "I think I would have," Griffin told NBA TV late Tuesday night. "I really think Koby Altman made a tremendous trade here, given the circumstances. When you're trying to win a championship, there is no in between. You're all the way with me, or you're all the way against me. And I think this was a situation where Kyrie made it clear he had a goal set that might not have jived with what Cleveland's was.
"They made a deal that, even in the absence of Isaiah Thomas, is a tremendous collection of assets and value Koby was able to get. At the same time, Boston made a trade to get a piece that really could be the key for them -- a 25-year old player in his prime who is an NBA champion, an Olympic champion and is really just starting to scratch the surface of who he can be."
Multiple sources told cleveland.com that as of Tuesday afternoon, Cleveland hadn't asked the Celtics for anything extra. Wojnarowski reports the two sides began to engage each other on a "solution."
Cleveland and Boston officials started to engage each other on a solution on Tuesday, league sources told ESPN. Cleveland is no longer seeking one of the Celtics' top young players or significant draft picks, league sources said. The Cavaliers could be inclined to complete the deal for a late first-round pick or second-round considerations, league sources said.
All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas told ESPN that he has made significant progress with his injured hip toward a return in the 2017-18 season and has a message for NBA teams doubting his long-term prognosis. "I am not damaged," Thomas told ESPN on Tuesday. "I'll be back, and I'll be the same player."
"There's never been an indication that I wouldn't be back, and there's never been an indication that this is something messing up my career," Thomas told ESPN. "Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I'm going to be back, and I'm going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that."
Thomas has been in consistent contact with Cavaliers officials since his physical on Friday in Cleveland, he said. "I don't know what [the organization] is doing," Thomas told ESPN. "It's out of my control. I just want to talk about what I can control, and I know that this (hip) won't be a problem into the future."
If Cleveland really does want more in exchange for Kyrie Irving, the Celtics don’t know the specifics. There has been no contact between the two teams since multiple reports surfaced that the Cavaliers, alarmed by the results of Isaiah Thomas’ physical last Friday, now want more in exchange for Irving.
The Celtics are said to have no contingency plan in place — due to the lack of contact — and no plan to either include another asset to make the trade go through or to draw a line and refuse further compensation.
The Celtics medical staff, headed by Dr. Brian McKeon, was in extensive contact with its Cleveland counterpart in the days leading up to the Aug. 22 trade, with an equally extensive exchange of information stemming from Thomas’ recovery from a torn labrum in his right hip.
Sirius XM NBA: "I think they still follow up on the deal, they did a good job."-Fmr Cavs GM David Griffin on value Cavs acquired from Celtics other than IT
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix (hat tip: Tom Westerholm of MassLive): "My read is actually from the Cleveland side, and what I hear from there is that nothing they’ve found is anything different than what was conveyed to the Cavaliers in the trade discussions, and certainly in the medical information that was passed forward."
Rose is past his latest surgery, one that repaired his meniscus and, probably mercifully, ended his season with the Knicks. He isn’t worried about how the now-tenuous trade between Boston and Cleveland with the principals being star point guards Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas works out; Rose is willing to play with either one.
Sirius XM NBA: "I'll be shocked if this deal doesn't happen, it's too far down the road." -ESPN's Jackie MacMullan on the Kyrie for Isaiah/Crowder deal
After giving Thomas his physical, the Cavs weren't convinced that the Celtics were fully forthcoming about the extent of Thomas' hip injury, so they're looking to restructure the trade with added assets. We don't know exactly what assets Cleveland is asking for, but ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowki reported on SportsCenter on Sunday that they'll definitely ask about rookie Jayson Tatum and second-year wing Jaylen Brown.
"Boston is resisting, and will initially at least, resist this idea," Wojnarowski said. "Boston believes that it was completely transparent with Cleveland about where Thomas was physically, his rehab. Cleveland's version of this is that they didn't realize how long Thomas could potentially be out this season, he's in the final year of his contract, and obviously, that matches up with what will likely be the final year of LeBron's current deal, and so there's going to be a showdown between these two teams that may last a couple more days."
Adam Kaufman: Per @Chris Mannix on @CSNNE, #Celtics will draw line in sand. May part with a 2nd Rd pick to complete #Cavs deal. No firsts/Brown/Tatum.
At a recent event in Massachusetts, Celtics coach Brad Stevens had to explain to a young Boston fan why they traded Thomas. Stevens did a good job complementing Thomas’ legacy in Boston and his contributions to team, eventually telling the young fan that the business of basketball simply had some tough decisions to be made from time to time.
Adrian Wojnarowski: "It puts Isaiah Thomas in a really difficult place. He's gonna be a free agent at the end of this season and he's looking for the biggest financial score of his career. And both teams dragging him through this is really unfair to his future because he may very well get through and be fully recovered when he gets into free agency next year. The focus is really on how soon can he play this season. But it's certainly damaging his value around the league, and probably unfairly so."
The Cavaliers declined to comment on a new ESPN report that the team would seek further compensation for Kyrie Irving because of the severity of Isaiah Thomas' hip injury. Two Cavs sources said Saturday night only that the team was "still in the review process" in determining what do about the week's blockbuster trade with Boston, in which Cleveland agreed to ship Irving to the Celtics for Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn's No. 1 pick.
A Cavs source said the two sides need to reach a conclusion by Wednesday evening or mutually agree to extend the deadline. Though the Cavs could void the trade based on Thomas' injury, a source with knowledge of Cleveland's thinking still expected a deal to get done. However, numerous report said out of Boston suggested the Celtics were not happy with the Cavs' tactics and may take a hard line.
After Cleveland's physical examination of Isaiah Thomas' injured hip raised concern about the timeline for his return this season, Cavaliers officials are planning to seek an additional trade asset before finalizing a deal to send four-time All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, league sources told ESPN. Without revisions to the original trade agreement, the Cavaliers could threaten to veto the trade, league sources said.
The Cavaliers' stance could trigger a standoff between Cleveland and Boston officials, forcing both organizations to weigh the consequences of letting blockbuster trade implode. The deadline to report and submit to a physical for the players involved in the trade is 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and the deadline to pass the physical is 10 a.m. on Thursday, per league rules.
A Cavs source said the two sides need to reach a conclusion by Wednesday evening or mutually agree to extend the deadline. Though the Cavs could void the trade based on Thomas' injury, sources still expect a deal to get done.
If both teams mutually agree to extend the deadline, they can. Once the sides re-engage, Cavaliers officials may try to make the case that Boston undersold them on the scope of the Thomas injury, and more specifically, how soon Thomas could be prepared to play this season, league sources said. The sides did discuss and share information on Thomas's injury, sources said.
Because Thomas is in the final year of his contract -- which coincides with LeBron James' opt-out next summer -- Cleveland has an urgency to get Thomas on the court this year. All along, Boston has believed it was clear in its assessment of Thomas' physical status and that information was communicated to the Cavaliers in the conversations prior to Tuesday's trade, league sources said. In a telephone conference call with reporters after the trade was announced, Celtics GM Danny Ainge admitted that Thomas' physical condition played "some" role in trading Thomas to Cleveland as part of the Irving package.
Chris Mannix: Boston believes it was completely transparent w/Cleveland on IT's hip injury, per sources. Expect Celtics to strongly resist any sweetener.
Besides its own future first-round picks, Boston has possible access to future protected picks from the Los Angeles Lakers (2018), Los Angeles Clippers (2019) and Memphis Grizzlies (2019). Boston does have control several second-round draft picks too, which could also be included into a deal.
The Cavaliers are indeed pausing to consider a "concern that we have" regarding Isaiah Thomas' right hip, a source told cleveland.com, while Kyrie Irving is undergoing his physical today in Boston. Two sources with knowledge of the Cavs' thinking said the team is conducting a "very deep and thorough review process" on Thomas, whom Cleveland acquired Tuesday in a blockbuster trade along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn No. 1 pick for Irving.
In the aftermath of issues resulting from Isaiah Thomas' physical examination on Friday, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics are planning a telephone call for Saturday to discuss the status of the teams' blockbuster trade, league sources told ESPN. The proposed deal sending Cleveland's four-time All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round pick via Brooklyn has been thrust into uncertainty with medical questions surrounding Thomas' injured hip, league sources told ESPN.
It is possible that Cleveland could request further compensation from Boston before it'll approve the trade, league sources said. Cleveland has until Thursday to make a final decision on approving the trade, sources said. Cleveland can veto the deal based on a failed physical, sending players back to their respective teams. Thomas took the exam in Cleveland on Friday before flying back home to the West Coast, league sources said. "It's very sensitive situation," one source involved in the process told ESPN.
Irving, who had requested a trade from Cleveland, is set to take his physical with the Celtics on Saturday, league sources said. Thomas has been rehabilitating a hip injury that ended his season in the Eastern Conference Finals, and sources have told ESPN that the All-Star guard has yet to begin a regimen of running this offseason.
Kyle Draper: This #Cavs #Celtics situation is wild. My guess. #Celtics doctors said IT does NOT need surgery. #Cavs doctors feel otherwise.
Two people with knowledge of the situation say the Cleveland Cavaliers are doing a "deep and thorough" review of their blockbuster trade that sent All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the team is not publicly discussing its plans.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are concerned about the health of point guard Isaiah Thomas’ right hip, according to ESPN, jeopardizing the blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics that sent Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a first-round pick to the Cavaliers for point guard Kyrie Irving. Thomas took a physical in Cleveland on Friday, and the results have given the Cavs pause on proceeding with the deal.
Zach Lowe: Cavs sent farewell tweet to Kyrie ~2 hrs later, 3 hrs after reports of done deal. Teams are often paranoid re talking before deals official.
After All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas underwent a physical examination in Cleveland on Friday, uncertainty over the fitness of his injured hip has Cavaliers officials evaluating the results and considering possible ramifications to the blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics earlier this week, league sources said. One source involved in the process said on Friday night, "It's a very sensitive situation."
In the deal, Cleveland has placed the most value on the 2018 unprotected first-round pick that Boston controls from the Nets, league sources said. 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.
ESPN's Chris Haynes recently spoke about this during an appearance on ESPN: The fact of the matter is, players in the league, they felt like Isaiah Thomas was done wrong. When they asked Isaiah — management, ownership — asked him to go out and recruit such and such, he did it. He went out there, tried to improve the roster. He did everything that was asked of him to try to improve the Celtics. And then to, out of the blue, to be involved in a trade — and look, we’re not even talking basketball-wise. I think most people will say Kyrie probably, overall, is a better player. But it just rubbed players the wrong way.
To have gone through all of that and still be traded, for a player who plays the same position, Isiah Thomas said, it's going to fall to the Cavs to build some trust with Thomas and make him re-commit to basketball. "He said he gave his heart and soul to the Celtics," Isiah Thomas said. "He gave them everything. It's a business and we all understand that it's a business, but to have it happen in such a way for him. I think it really hurt him. I think it's going to be difficult for him to trust again, to give that trust, that loyalty, that love to another organization. "And I definitely think the Cavs are going to have to do some relationship mending to get him back to the point where he loves being where he's at. Because he's a small guy and the thing that gets him over is his love and his passion. And if those things are kind of missing a little bit, it's going to be hard."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Thomas traveled to Cleveland, took exam and flew back out of town, sources said. All players must pass physical, or a deal can be voided.
Isaiah Thomas is upset the Boston Celtics traded him to the Cavaliers, who apparently have their work cut out for them to make their new two-time All-Star point guard feel better. All of that is according to Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas, who said on the MMA Hour in Las Vegas Friday that he spoke to the Cavs' Thomas and described him as "emotionally...wounded" by the trade
"He said he gave his heart and soul to the Celtics," Isiah Thomas said. "He gave them everything. It's a business and we all understand that it's a business, but to have it happen in such a way for him. I think it really hurt him. I think it's going to be difficult for him to trust again, to give that trust, that loyalty, that love to another organization.
Isiah Thomas: "And I definitely think the Cavs are going to have to do some relationship mending to get him back to the point where he loves being where he's at. Because he's a small guy and the thing that gets him over is his love and his passion. And if those things are kind of missing a little bit, it's going to be hard."
Chris Forsberg: Brad Stevens on report that IT rubbed people wrong way: "I don't pay attention to [reports] but if I was irked by anything that would be it."
Isaiah Thomas has seven days to report to the Cavs, whose highly regarded medical staff will be waiting to examine Thomas, who also will visit a renowned hip specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. Celtics president Danny Ainge told reporters that Thomas' hip injury, which caused him to miss the final three games of the Eastern Conference finals after having played on a torn labrum, would mean "probably a little bit of delay" as to when the All-Star point guard will be ready to suit up for the 2017-18 season.
The trade combined with the notion that players are expected to owe loyalty to teams appeared to rub former Celtics star Ray Allen the wrong way - especially given Allen's history with the Celtics. Allen posted a screenshot of Caron Butler's Instagram post on Thursday and added his own commentary on the trade.
Thomas declined to discuss Isaiah’s reaction to the trade that sent point guard Kyrie Irving to Boston, but the father said that while change can briefly be jarring, his son is well-equipped to handle it. “He’s still Isaiah, regardless of where he goes or what he does,” James Thomas said. “It’s a business. We’ve been doing good. Isaiah’s been doing great wherever he goes. And it’s just — it’s almost time for him to get paid.”
“Isaiah has managed to overcome every obstacle you put in front of him,” James Thomas said. “He knows how to maintain, man. He just holds his composure and just plays on. At the end of the day, it’s basketball. It’s still a dream.”
LeBron James: The burning of the jersey thing is getting ridiculous now! The man was traded. What do u not understand? & played in a game after .....
You can add Jayson Tatum to the list of folks who were shocked by the news that four-time All-Star Kyrie Irving was coming to Boston. The Celtics engineered a trade with Cleveland Tuesday night that sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick, to the Cavs for Irving. “I was just as surprised as everyone else,” Tatum told reporters on Wednesday. “I saw my name come up. I didn’t know if I was going to get traded.”
LeBron James has been silent about Isaiah Thomas joining the Cavs, but he had plenty say about his own game Wednesday evening. James, who is working out in Los Angeles twice a day with trainer Mike Mancias and Cavs coaches and player development staff, posted to Instagram footage of him scrimmaging in a famous auxiliary gym on the campus of UCLA.
Sirius XM NBA: Kevin McHale thinks it is "scary" that Isaiah Thomas hasn't been cleared for basketball activities yet- McHale on IT hip injury
Isaiah Thomas was beloved by most Boston Celtics fans. Several of Thomas’ Celtics teammates, however, might have held a different opinion. NBA insider Chris Broussard revealed Wednesday, one day after the Celtics traded I.T. to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a blockbuster deal for All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, that some players in Boston “weren’t really that fond of” Thomas, according to several NBA executives.
“I will tell you this, I spoke to several executives, or texted with several executives (Tuesday night), and a lot of them were saying that a lot of the players in Boston really weren’t that fond of Isaiah,” Broussard said on FS1’s “Undisputed” while discussing the trade with Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless. “We know he had those problems in Sacramento and in Phoenix. I didn’t know he was having those issues — before (talking with) these executives — in Boston.”
NESN: Isaiah Thomas reportedly rubbed some Celtics teammates the wrong way. Kelly Olynyk: This Preposterous! #RealOne
NESN: Isaiah Thomas reportedly rubbed some Celtics teammates the wrong way. Jared Sullinger: Lies lies and More Lies!!! Smfh. Y'all better than that!
Altman was extremely focused on the future in making this trade, a source said. This trade may give James much more faith in Altman as a general manager. It would be hard to believe that Altman could have landed a better trade than the Boston one. He did call the uninterested Warriors about Klay Thompson, a source said.
Isaiah Thomas gave his all to the Boston Celtics the last two seasons, turned himself into an All-Star and a clutch performer in the process, and had nothing to do with the trade that sent him to the Cleveland Cavaliers and brought back Kyrie Irving. So why are a couple of Celtics fans burning their Thomas jerseys?
"Just felt right," one Cavs front office source told ESPN when asked what finally led the team to settle on a deal with an Eastern Conference rival like Boston -- the team they beat in the conference finals just months ago -- after fielding phone calls from just about every team in the league inquiring about Irving.
September 17, 2021 | 9:03 am EDT Update
Will his fate be the same as Wall’s? Sources with knowledge of Gordon’s thinking say while Gordon hasn’t approached management to ask for a trade, he’s open to moving to a more favorable situation. In meetings between his representation and Houston this offseason, the Rockets communicated they would love to have Gordon stay. “They always know, and it’s definitely not easy for my position,” Gordon says about Houston understanding how he feels. “But my ultimate goal is to just go out there and play, help, show that I’m healthy and gravitate to these guys to get better.”
But Gordon is a consummate professional. He’s going to put his head down, prepare for the season and do the role that’s asked of him. He was part of the group that took a pre-camp trip down to the Bahamas (Wall was not present, according to sources). The Rockets have gone there in previous seasons as a means to build chemistry and lay the groundwork for a grueling season. The stakes are a bit different now, but the goal remains the same. “It was good,” Gordon says of the trip. “It’s always good to get together and play and be around each other. And now it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty and figure out chemistry. How can this guy fit here? How can we do things? How can we make each other play at a high level? So that’s the thing, those are the next steps to figure out.”
Gordon played in just 27 games last season, dealing with a knee injury early on and, most recently, a groin injury suffered in March. With training camp less than two weeks away, he’s ready for another go. “Physically and mentally, I’m definitely in a good spot,” Gordon says. “Looking forward to training camp with the team and don’t have to really worry about any setbacks or whatnot.”
Orazio Cauchi: Forward Jarrell Brantley, who was waived by the Utah Jazz, is close to signing a deal with Euroleague side UNICS Kazan, according to a source. Brantley was the 50th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. More on @BasketNews_com
Donatas Urbonas: Mike James’ one-year contract with AS Monaco is worth around €900k, according to sources. My friends from France will correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it makes him the highest-paid French basketball league player ever.
Vasilije Micic on offers received during the summer: ‘There were some 90 percent clear offers from the NBA, not 100 but 90 percent about details in the contract. And of course, I didn’t expect any promises like minutes-wise, but a kind of a role with Oklahoma [City Thunder]. And when I realized that Oklahoma was still not sure, because they had actually one and a half months extra with the NBA draft to see how many players they would take and what they would want to do with the trades, for me it was too long to wait. It was too long, especially when I had that offer from CSKA [Moscow]. Of course I spoke with Efes. I wanted to give them priority, if they could offer me something similar. I’m happy that they understood that I wanted to stay here and not leave just because someone said that I had to leave.’
For most of Klay Thompson’s NBA career, the Golden State Warriors often described him as “no maintenance.” Why? Thompson consistently shattered shooting records. He played in nearly every game. And he rarely complained. But after experiencing two season-ending injuries in 2019-20 (torn ACL in left knee) and 2020-21 (ruptured right Achilles tendon), will Thompson prove in the 2021-22 season that he no longer requires such hefty repairs? “I would be optimistic that he’s going to be able to get back and compete at a high level again,” said Dr. Michael G. Ciccotti, director of sports medicine and research at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute and an outside consultant for the Philadelphia Sixers, Eagles and Flyers. “But his ability to perform precisely at where he was before? That is something that only time will tell.”