We have reached the point in NBA history where it seems any sort of blockbuster trade could occur at anytime. Isaiah Thomas back to the Celtics? Why not? Kyrie Irving as a rental with the Nuggets? Sure.
It’s looking more and more like Celtics boss Danny Ainge will at least explore the possibility of trading Irving in the next five days. Ainge does not want to see Irving walk out the door in July without getting something in exchange and he is typically proactive in these type of situations.
Take Thomas for example. Ainge traded him to Cleveland for Irving for two reasons. First, Irving is the better player. Second is that he did not want to pay Thomas a max deal the following summer. Instead of potentially seeing Thomas leave the next summer for nothing, Ainge brought in Irving who had one more year on his contract than Thomas.
It now makes all the sense in the world for Ainge and the Celtics to trade Irving and to bring back Thomas. Thomas is set to come back in the next few weeks from the hip injury that has kept him on the sidelines all year.
Thomas’ current teammate Jamal Crawford believes IT is due for a huge resurgence in the next few months.
“He loves basketball and he’d be hungry if he missed one game,” Crawford told the Boston Globe earlier this year of Thomas. “The fact that he missed all this time, he’s going to be a monster.”
Ainge has actually done this sort of thing before. In 2003 he traded away Antoine Walker, but brought back Employee Number 8 for the Celtics’ playoff run in 2005.
As for the Nuggets end of this deal, Denver is looking for an elite player to legitimately allow them to compete with the Warriors in the Western Conference. The Nuggets currently have the best record in the West with a 36-16 mark but no one in their right mind could see them knocking off the champs in a best-of-seven series.