Isaiah Thomas will never see an actual Brinks truck pulling up to his house. But I got news for the Boston Celtics. He’s going to get whatever he thinks should be inside. As well he should.
Thomas — who’s entering the final year of his contract — once again referred to the armored vehicle, while speaking to CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely at the NBA’s Summer League on Friday.
“I’m a max guy,” Thomas said when asked how he viewed his impending free agency, while being reminded by Blakely, of the large amounts of money being thrown around this offseason.
“I deserve the max,” added Thomas. “We just have to continue to take care of business on the court, and let the cards fall where they may.
“I’m happy for all the guards and all the other guys getting their money, because they deserve it. But my time’s coming. They know they gotta bring the Brinks truck out. They know that.”
It was a deja-vu moment for sure. Because Thomas said nearly the same exact thing last year, at the Summer League to Blakely.
“They better bring out the Brinks truck, “said Thomas in 2016. “They’re paying everybody else. I gotta get something.”
Thomas’ status as a “max” player will be debated forever, it seems. But come on. The guy’s got a point. They are, in fact, paying everybody else.
And in the last calendar year, his Celtics have dished out multiple max contracts to players who weren’t even Celtics: Al Horford last July, and Gordon Hayward last week.
Horford signed a four-year, $113 million deal at the age of 30. Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million deal at the age of 27. That’s $28 million a year for Horford, and $32 million a year for Hayward. Again, both players signed these contracts with the C’s before they were even able to find themselves on the right side of Gino Time.
So when Thomas — who turns 29 in February — starts talking about Brinks trucks, he’s not kidding.
Forget about all the crazy contracts being dished out around the rest of the league. Thomas doesn’t have to go any further than Horford and Hayward while negotiating with C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
Ainge has had plenty of success on the free agent market the last two offseasons. Some of that credit, of late, has been given to coach Brad Stevens for his relationship with Hayward while coaching him at Butler.
All of a sudden, Boston has the look and feel of a “destination” city in the NBA for players who have the right to choose. But let’s be honest. Horford and Hayward wouldn’t be Celtics if it wasn’t for Thomas.
He’s the reason. Not the Answer. Not the Truth. Not the Process. The Reason.
Without Thomas, the Celtics would’ve had 30 wins last season. He finished the year third in the NBA in scoring, averaging 28.9 points per game, behind James Harden (29.1) and Russell Westbrook (31.6).
If the C’s had just 30 wins last year, I’m pretty sure Hayward would still be in Utah. Or maybe he would’ve went to Miami. But he wouldn’t be coming to Boston. And last offseason, it was evident that Thomas’ presence and recruiting skills convinced Horford to choose the Celtics.
Sure, Ainge traded for Thomas. And he obviously struck gold. But when that gold starts to make everybody else rich, there comes a time where you need to pay the man who’s the reason it’s all possible.
So, the next time Thomas starts talking about Brinks trucks, he won’t be kidding. And if the Celtics don’t want to pay him what’s inside, somebody else will. Who knows, maybe they’ll even drive it to his house.
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