And to think he used to be called Mr. Irrelevant. These days Isaiah Thomas has become a hot commodity. He spent all of last season proving to anyone who would listen that he could be a viable starter in the NBA. His team, however, spent most of the season trying to unload him, and this season is no different.
Yahoo Sports reported Thomas, who is a restricted free agent, is the centerpiece of a deal that would send Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo over in a sign-and-trade. In fact, one of the first calls team president Danny Ainge made at the start of free agency was to Thomas’ reps. That fueled speculation that a Rondo-Thomas deal was imminent, but there’s just one problem.
Boston doesn’t have a lot of cap space. With just $5.5 million available, the services of Thomas may be out of Boston’s price range. That’s because Thomas proved himself as an elite point guard last season. Averaging 20.3 points and 6.6 assists a game, Thomas became one of the most dependable point guards in the league and he deserves a contract that reflects it.
Speaking of contracts, let’s take for example Kyrie Irving who just signed a $90 million max deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving’s numbers were similar but were second to Thomas. Yet Irving is perceived to be a franchise player and Thomas isn’t. So what’s the deal?
It’s not that Thomas isn’t a premier point guard — I think he’s proven that with his numbers. Sacramento has just made it clear Thomas isn’t their guy. Ultimately this is all about whether the Kings should trade for Rondo, and the answer is without a doubt yes.
And it’s not like Thomas wouldn’t make out well in this scenario either. He’s already been offered $24 million from the Detroit Pistons, and if he re-ups with Sacramento then is subsequently traded to Boston he goes a proven winner.
Ainge would never steer the Celtics off the cliff, and Thomas would be front and center in the team’s evolution. In Boston and to a lesser degree Detroit, Thomas could flourish with two marquee teams. Besides, those two teams have shown more faith in Thomas than his current one.
Sacramento obviously wants to make a splash, and Rondo could easily step in and provide that. But letting go is always hard until time runs out. And the clock is ticking for the Kings.