National Basketball Association teams and fans thought that a deal had been completed several days ago that would send All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas. That deal hit a snag following Thomas’ physical by Cavaliers‘ doctors though.
In an odd twist of fate, team doctors for Cleveland felt that there might be issues with Thomas’ hip that he injured in the NBA playoffs last season. And the team played it off as if he was damaged goods to some extent.
“I am not damaged,” Thomas told ESPN on Tuesday. “I’ll be back, and I’ll be the same player.”
“There’s never been an indication that I wouldn’t be back, and there’s never been an indication that this is something messing up my career. Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I’m going to be back, and I’m going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that.”
There were plenty of indicators that the Cavaliers were wanting both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for added compensation in the deal. But that seemingly was to see if the Celtics would call their bluff and offer more.
The newest acquisition that the Cavaliers are getting from Boston is a 2020 second-round pick to go with Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and an unprotected 2018 first-round pick via the Brooklyn Nets, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
It was a rare stalemate that lasted up to the deadline given by the NBA to complete the deal, and a failed deal would have been tragic for both teams and all the players involved.
While the deal was never truly in danger — both sides will agree to that — it is one of the oddest trade happenings in recent professional sports memory. And had the Celtics reluctantly given into the Cavaliers post-physical demands, they would have given up another first-round pick.
In the words of Salute Magazine‘s own Tony Williams, this deal was a “win-win trade,” and both sides should feel happy about how the blockbuster deal turned out this offseason.