I’ve got a hunch that Danny Ainge is going to trade Isaiah Thomas this offseason – even if the Celtics improbably beat LeBron and the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals for the right to get swept by Golden State in the NBAFinals.
Thomas hasn’t been shy about discussing that he is due for a pay raise, and the last time a Celtic did that in public he was gone a few months later (Evan Turner). This isn’t the sole reason I think Isaiah will be gone, but it’s one of them.
All the basketball illiterate in this town (read: Michael Felger, most anyone on 98.5) will moan about Ainge being trigger shy and will say, “oh, I’ve heard that one before” … but the Celtics are going to entirely reshape their roster this coming summer. Ainge is the definition of a go big or go home GM, and finally – this summer he will provide those fireworks. To get the biggest fish in a trade though, the C’s littlest big fish may have to go.
Just imagine what a package of say, Thomas and the 2018 Nets pick would land you?
If I were a betting man (and I am), I would say the Celtics deal Thomas this summer, keep this year's pick and draft a franchise point guard in this point guard heavy draft (Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz). This way, theyget to keep key young cogs like Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, and can add Gordon Hayward in free agency.
Don't be surprised if Aingealso thinks he has a shot at Kevin Durant still as well. If the Warriors coast to a title this spring, Durant will have gotten that ring he covets - but he still wouldn't have done it as THE guy. These guys are competitive as hell we've got to remember, and Durant won't want to play his entire career as a guy thought to be nothing more than a ring chaser.