Isaiah Thomas is clearly the Boston Celtics best player, but with the possibility of them selecting Markelle Fultz with the number one pick in the 2017 NBA Draft next month, would Boston consider dealing their superstar?
Apparently, it’s not a crazy notion like some might think. Reports have said that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge considered dealing Thomas, along with Marcus Smart, during the 2016 NBA Draft. Boston already had the No.3 overall pick and was looking for another high pick. Boston was also involved in a lot of trade rumors last year involving their third pick, but kept it.
As the Celtics are likely staring at the end of their season, they’ll soon turn to preparations for the 2017-2018 season. And for Ainge, that’s the No.1 pick, which right now, they’re keeping. With Boston $20 million over the tax line heading into the summer, they have decisions to make on some players.
They could lose Amir Johnson, whose set to hit free agency. But with Isaiah Thomas signed on for one more season, Ainge could look to swing a trade before or during the draft involving Thomas.
The Celtics could do one of a couple of things.
The first is sending Thomas to a team to add a superstar. Names like Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis have been mentioned. With the Celtics facing a sweep in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics may need a major roster upgrade to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers. By drafting Fultz and swinging a deal for a star, it would certainly change things for Boston.
The other is sending Thomas to a team for another high draft pick. It’s ultimately what Danny Ainge tried last year and he could try it again this year. Boston had three first rounders in the 2016 NBA Draft. With a deep draft class, Boston could look to score another first rounder at the expense of dealing Thomas.
Ainge has clearly shown in the past that he’s not afraid to make bold moves to the roster to improve. He pulled off the draft night trade to send Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets. While the fans were upset over them getting moved, it helped their future tremendously.
Fans might be upset over Boston losing another superstar if Thomas got dealt. But what Danny Ainge could bring back in a trade could help Boston’s overall future.
It’s something Boston could consider over the next month and before the draft.