The Dallas Mavericks might be searching for a starting point guard this summer. Could Isaiah Thomas be the answer?
Wait, could Isaiah Thomas really be in play for trade this summer?
Standing at 5’7″, Isaiah Thomas has taken the league by storm in Boston by averaging over 29 points a game and currently having his Boston Celtics team in first place in the Eastern Conference.
If it wasn’t for insane statistical seasons for a handful of players at the top of the league, Thomas would rightfully be in the MVP conversation. So why on Earth would he not be in Boston next season?
Back on March 17th, The Ringer’s Bill Simmons made an appearance on his old friend’s podcast, The Lowe Post Podcast, by ESPN’s Zach Lowe. In the podcast episode, both guys discussed in detail the Eastern Conference.
Quite naturally, Simmons’ beloved Boston Celtics were a main topic of conversation and Simmons dropped an idea I hadn’t put a thought to prior to that.
"“If they get Fultz or Lonzo in this draft, I really wonder if this is Isaiah’s last season on the Celtics,” Simmons said."
If you have forgotten, due to the ridiculous trade with the Brooklyn Nets regarding Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Boston still owns two more Brooklyn first rounders; their 2017 and 2018 picks.
With Brooklyn STILL holding the worst record in the league, the chances of Boston landing that top pick in the draft (at worst a top four pick) are very high.
Lowe responded to Simmons by agreeing that the idea isn’t crazy whatsoever and then they discussed his contract situation.
Thomas is due for extension talk this summer, but considering his age, he should want to hit free agency where he can get the most money he can get on the only max contract he will receive in his career.
If he does get that max contract like many expect, he would be 29 years old getting a five year contract worth over $200 million. Thus, the 5’7″ point guard would be making around $45 million in the fifth year of his deal at 34 years old.
Now, consider the looming contract extension for Avery Bradley this summer and Marcus Smart the next summer, and suddenly you have some decisions to make on who to keep. Bradley is one of the best two way players in the league at 26 years old and Smart is just 22 years old.
A week later, Simmons strengthened his statement when he was talking with The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor on The Bill Simmons Podcast.
“I don’t think Isaiah Thomas is a Celtic next season if the Celtics get Fultz or Ball,” Simmons said.
When O’Connor disagreed with Simmons and questioned it, Simmons responded with “Isaiah would be this whole season not knowing his contract situation, staring at his replacement, and he is going to be happy?”
So if Boston doesn’t make it to the Finals and lands either Ball or Fultz in the draft, who could come calling for Isaiah Thomas if they made him available?
The Dallas Mavericks very well could.
First off, as a roster fit, Thomas would come in right away as the starting point guard next to Seth Curry. Dallas would instantly have a lethal, scoring back court that would be backed up by Yogi Ferrell and J.J. Barea. In this situation, Devin Harris would probably be let go over the offseason.
Contract wise, if there is a franchise willing to take the financial risk on a player for the chance to win now, its the Dallas Mavericks. Paying Thomas massive money into his thirties wouldn’t be ideal, but it would give the Mavericks a better shot at winning over the next year or two.
It would also put a good, competitive team around Dirk Nowitzki during his last season.
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The trade package that Dallas would need to put together is unknown. If the Mavericks could get away with holding on to their first round pick, Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel, and Seth Curry, then they should entertain it.
Wesley Matthews would almost have to be in the deal to help the Mavericks have money to fill out the roster after Thomas’ extension. Hypothetically, let’s say it took Matthews, Dwight Powell and their 2018 first round pick.
Whether Boston wanted Matthews or not with their crowded back court, they could make it a three team deal and get something valuable back for one of the best 3-and-D players in the league.
A few things would have to align for Boston to entertain trading Thomas and a lot of things would have to align for Thomas to land in Dallas.
But if we know anything about the NBA, crazier things have happened.