Within the first 24 hours after the free agency period began on Tuesday, the Boston Celtics had already expressed interest in restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas. Why a point guard would be on the top of Danny Ainge‘s list could only mean on thing: Rajon Rondo will be traded this summer.
After failing to bring in Kevin Love at the draft, the Celtics have decided to go young and continue their rebuild. Since Rondo is set to be a free agent and the Celtics will not be contending any time soon, trading Rondo is the way to go. However, Ainge cannot let the All-Star point guard leave with getting any sort of compensation in return.
Interest in Thomas indicates that a trade could be set in place between the Sacramento Kings and Celtics. Prior to the draft, rumors swirled about this exact scenario, but it was never imminent. Now a sign-and-trade could be in the making. The Kings could sign Thomas to a deal then ship him and Ben McLemore to the Celtics for Rondo. Unfortunately, it could be the most the Celtics can get before Rondo is a free agent.
Why it Makes Sense
Thomas could be extremely valuable to the Celtics offensively. Last season, he averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists a game. Boston needs someone who can shoot from deep and Thomas isn’t afraid to shoot and his confidence is sky-high.
With the No. 6 pick in the draft, the Celtics selected Marcus Smart, who is a versatile, creative combo guard who plays aggressive on defense and knows how to score. The only knock on the 20-year-old is his shooting ability, so pairing him with Rondo does not make much sense. However, Thomas would be the perfect complement.
Also, Thomas is only 25 years old, so he would not hinder the Celtics’ rebuild plan and would fit the youth-movement mold.
Why it Doesn’t Make Sense
Thomas is a good shooter, but his shot selection is dismal at times. His confidence certainly gets the better of him, and he sometimes will refuse to run the offense and take a wild shot instead. Getting his teammates involved while he spots up for a shot once in a while is when Thomas is at his best.
Another reason for concern is Thomas’ height as he barely reaches 5-foot-9. Height is already a weakness for the Celtics, so why bring in a guard who will have trouble guarding his opponents? Other guards on the depth chart (Smart, Avery Bradley and Phil Pressey) are all under 6-foot-4, leaving the Celtics with a vastly undersized backcourt.
All in all, going after Thomas is a smart move. He can be part of the rebuild and would add much-needed perimeter shooting to the Celtics’ squad. It’s time to say goodbye to Rondo and fully commit to the youthful reconstruction.