Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

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Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

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Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by bobheckler on Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:39 am

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/07/18/boston-celtics-isaiah-thomas-max-contract-nba-adam-kaufman/



Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?




July 18, 2017 12:08 PM



By Adam Kaufman



BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics should consider themselves very fortunate right now.

Because they’ve drafted both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum third overall in consecutive June’s, and added arguably their two most significant free agents in Al Horford and Gordon Hayward in back-to-back July’s?


All true, yes.

But Danny Ainge should also be thanking his lucky stars he didn’t have to make a decision this summer on face-of-the-franchise and two-time All-Star Isaiah Thomas’s future.

Coming off a top-five MVP finish for a top-seeded squad, All-NBA Second Team honors, borderline incomprehensible playoff heroics, and a career-high regular season average of 28.9 points per game, Boston’s star point guard is entering the final season of what’s unquestionably the best bargain in the NBA. Thomas will be paid just $6.26 million in 2017-18, a figure that’s dropped each year since the former sixth-man was poorly-advised to sign the deal.

While Thomas has obviously trended in the upward direction only since Ainge fleeced his former protégé Ryan McDonough in Phoenix to acquire the guard in 2015, he’s also currently hampered by a hip injury that prematurely ended his postseason and, though unlikely, may require surgery.

Still, at every opportunity, Thomas – as team-focused an individual as you’ll meet when not being probed by questions about himself – has been happy to volunteer that he’s hell-bent on getting a huge payday a year from now when he hits unrestricted free agency.

“I’m a max guy. So I deserve the max,” he recently told Comcast SportsNet’s A. Sherrod Blakely in Las Vegas. “We’ve got to just continue to take care of business on the court and let the cards fall where they may. But I’m happy for all the guards and all the other guys getting their money because they deserve it. My time is coming. They know they’ve got to bring the Brinks truck out. They know that.”

Boston can afford to give Thomas a max five-year contract in the neighborhood of $180 million next summer, simply by paying into the luxury tax, and ownership has already indicated a willingness to do so. With the additions of Horford and Hayward, both given top money, the Celts’ days of adding that level of talent in free agency are over for the foreseeable future. Trades are another story, of course, but the team will be capped out on the open market, which makes retaining Thomas all the more important.

And he knows it.

Ainge hasn’t shied away in recent months from stating his intentions to build around Thomas – the latest sign being Avery Bradley’s (another 2018 free agent) trade to Detroit – so perhaps his monster pay day is just a foregone conclusion.

The Celtics’ president of basketball operations could have selected Washington’s Markelle Fultz – widely believed to be the best choice – or big baller and Summer League MVP Lonzo Ball out of UCLA with the first overall pick in the draft before dealing that option to the Sixers, but he preferred Duke’s Jayson Tatum. Named to the All-Summer League Second Team, the forward hasn’t disappointed.

But Boston’s glut of young and talented wings also highlights a lack of depth of the point guard position, unless Ainge believes Marcus Smart or Terry Rozier will be ready to leap into a starting facilitator role a year from now.

This is a complicated debate.

Some will say Thomas is worth a max contract extension because the fearless “King in the Fourth” has rapidly become one of the NBA’s most exciting players, and clearly a key recruiter in Boston’s efforts to land prize free agents the last two years. He’s perhaps the most dominant entertainer of his stature in the history of the league and still in the prime of his career. He couldn’t possibly fit the market any better be it on the court or in the community, and fans haven’t adored a Celtic as much as they love the 60th overall pick in the 2011 draft since guys named Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett regularly stepped on the parquet. Plus, with the salaries Thomas’s counterparts have received of late, it’s difficult to argue he isn’t deserving of the same or more.



Isaiah Thomas. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)


Others will state he isn’t deserving of a max deal on account of his physical limitations. Even if you’re willing to ignore the fact he’ll turn 29 in February, Thomas is (listed at) 5-foot-9 and his aggressive style of play requires he take a physical beating night-in and night-out. How long before that takes a toll, especially with a hip problem that may linger? Moreover, Thomas is restricted defensively. It’s not an effort issue, but his shorter stature does prevent the All-Star from matching up with bigger guards – which is mostly everyone.

You’ll choose your side, if you haven’t already, and Thomas will surely use it as motivation if you bet against him. Ultimately, it’s up to Ainge and the men who sign the checks. Lost in the above, though, is perhaps the most important point: the debate is incomplete.

We don’t know how Hayward’s arrival will impact Thomas’s numbers or overall play, even if the assumption is better players only elevate those around them. Will the guard still be the featured option late in games, and in an offense that revolves around him?

We don’t know if Thomas’s hip or any unforeseen ailment will prevent him from making it through a full season. We’ve seen, mouths gaped – even literally his as it concerns the teeth in that mouth – what he can handle mentally and emotionally. He’s been an inspiration, but durability isn’t guaranteed.

We also don’t know for certain if Boston’s as important to Thomas as Thomas is to Boston. Suppose a middling or underachieving club desperate for a star or ticket sales is willing to pony up cash the Celtics aren’t for the guard. Would he accept a discount over the length of a max deal – say, $25 million per year rather than north of $30 million – to remain in the city that, combined with his efforts, put his star on the map? Would he view that as a slap in the face after Horford and Hayward were handed more coming from elsewhere?

Or, would Thomas prefer a Kyle Lowry-esque three-year, $100 million pact? That would save the C’s from having to pay two early-30s seasons for a player who may very well be declining by then, and would also get him to free agency again sooner if he isn’t, with the opportunity to ink a deal worth up to 35 percent of a club’s cap as a 10-year vet.

Win-win, perhaps.

For now and for perspective, Thomas is slated to make about a third of Evan Turner’s $17.1 million salary next year in Portland and barely more than half of Kelly Olynyk’s $10.6 million in Miami. Even Boston rookie Jayson Tatum, who’s yet to play a professional game, is on the books for $5.6 million. Thomas is as aware of it as we are, but timing’s everything.

Timing is on Ainge’s side right now because what may have been a challenging decision is on hold another year. But, Thomas’s time is coming and, fact is, only a trade could possibly offer the cap-strapped Celtics a better option than simply extending themselves to pay their own star. Short of a significant regression, the inevitable is clear.

Hear that?

That’s the sound of a Brinks truck backing up.



bob
MY NOTE:  For the sake of voting, assume that IT returns to last season's form from injury.  Obviously, if he's not the player he was pre-injury that will affect his contract, we don't need a vote to figure that out.  He ended up 3rd in scoring in the league (perhaps because of that injury, which slowed him down towards the end) and was 5th in MVP votes, in a year that had the first season triple-double and Harden becoming a complete offensive nightmare, Kawhi Leonard being one of the best all-round players in the league and, of course, LeBron James.  IT came in behind those four.  That's pretty good company.


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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by hawksnestbeach on Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:59 am

I like IT and he had an amazing year, but I think his defensive liabilities in a playoff series limit his value. Also, at 29. his playing with abandon may catch up with him. The good thing is we'll know much more this year before the payday comes due. Hawk

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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by kdp59 on Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:02 am

we gave Horford a max deal at the same age I believe.

Which one is more impactful for the Celtics?

Danny seems to love the guy also.

better back that truck up and pay the man who puts his body on the line each and every game for the green.

also, while the story touched on it, the facts are even without re-signing IT, the Celtics will NOT be players for any other major free agents next year. NO MONEY for outside FA's then, only to re-sign our own (or trades of course).



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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by sinus007 on Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:33 am

Hi,
I voted YES based obviously on the last season performance.
I think Danny will make IT a part of the team that makes a run at #18. For that you don't go el cheepo.

AK
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by beat on Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:00 am

Voted no.  Basically just too much of a liability on defense thus we have to be a little concerned about who is on the court with him at the same time to help cover his deficiencies.

Also (and it's a big if) should Rozier emerge as a proficient playmaker that too could make a huge contract unnecessary.

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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by cowens/oldschool on Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:18 am

Rozier is the X factor, if he can improve enough as a 2 way player then IT is gonna have to get his max deal somewhere else. Either way I expect with Hayward and Brown and Tatum developing their offense, IT will not have to carry us like last year and his scoring avg will drop, but the team will be better.
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by red16russ11 on Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:47 am

If he stays, he'll get one. If not, they'd better trade him at the deadline........because he WILL get one. I just hope it's from us
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by gyso on Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:14 am

If we don't give him a max deal and just let him go, who can we sign to replace his scoring, toughness and presence for our team?  We have no cap space to use for another free agent.  We will have to trade multiple assets in order to trade for anyone that has his talents.  Those are not acceptable alternatives, IMO.

If we think that we should sign him for something under the max, that is just quibbling over a few millions for the risk of losing him for nothing.  He is a top 5 scorer, a top 5 league MVP vote receiver, a top 4th quarter scorer, etc.

His poor defensive numbers are a direct result of out team running a three guard offense last year.  That scenario is over.  We will see a three wing offense for the next decade.  His offensive numbers will improve in the future.

On offense, the other teams will no longer be able to concentrate their efforts entirely on him.  His scoring per game may decrease, but our offense will not suffer for it.

Those kind of players deserve respect and proper compensation.  I say pay the man.

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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by bobc33 on Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:48 am

I voted yes based on my initial feeling when reading the question.

I don't know where to research this, but isn't it true that smaller players (meaning guards in general) lose some of their game at an earlier age than bigger players? Just thinking how will IT be in years 3, 4 and 5 of that 5 year contract? Perhaps the Celtics say that is a risk we are comfortable with in order to keep him for a championship run 2 to 3 years from now when he is still very effective?
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by dboss on Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:12 pm

Since no offer needs to be made until next year how about letting this play out?

I think it is very likely they will give him max money or they will lose him. However if the Celtics hit midseason and determine they need to move in a different direction he could be traded.

I selected the other category.

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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by cowens/oldschool on Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:01 pm

3 year max contract maybe, a 5 year deal I don't see happening....
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by wideclyde on Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:22 pm

This question is going to be asked a zillion times before anyone has an answer from Ainge, and there are many, many factors to consider before a decision is finalized.

BobH may have said it best already when mentioning how Thomas recovers from his hip issue that shut him down in the playoffs. If Thomas recovers fully will make a huge impact on a max contract compared to if he does not recover 100%. A slowed and maybe fragile Thomas will not be worth a max contract because his play is pretty much determined by his quickness and toughness.

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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by KyleCleric on Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:29 pm

It doesn't matter how much they pay him. We'll be over the cap and pushing toward the luxury tax. Signing him shouldn't hurt our ability to get Brown/Tatum/Nets18/Lakers18Kings19 extended

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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by NYCelt on Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:37 pm

Pay him. Absolutely. And my guess is Boston will.

The only negative that seems to pop up is defense. There are multiple ways to solve that, and do so easily. His pluses far outweigh his negatives and his offensive capability will be critical, even after adding Tatum and Hayward.
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by swish on Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:07 pm

2 choices.
* Sign him or
* Trade him for an elite player that brings with him BYRD RIGHTS.

swish

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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by swish on Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:36 pm

bobc33 wrote:I voted yes based on my initial feeling when reading the question.

I don't know where to research this, but isn't it true that smaller players (meaning guards in general) lose some of their game at an earlier age than bigger players?  Just thinking how will IT be in years 3, 4 and 5 of that 5 year contract?  Perhaps the Celtics say that is a risk we are comfortable with in order to keep him for a championship run 2 to 3 years from now when he is still very effective?

bobc33

Here's a little spot check I did - probably far from conclusive.
It involves only those players with at least 1100 minutes played in 2016-17 that were between the ages of 26-29 (Prime years) and 32-35 ( age a factor) Note: 1100 minutes will give you about the top 7-8 players in a rotation.

* Age 26-29 - total players 89
Height 6'8" or taller -43 players played at least 1100 minutes - 48.3%
Height 6'7" or shorter - 46 players played at least 1100 minutes - 51.7%

* Age 32-35 - total 23 players.
Height 6'8" or taller - 11 players played at least 1100 minutes - 47.8%
Height 6'7" or shorter - 12 players played at least 1100 minutes - 52.2%

For what it's worth

swish




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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by mrkleen09 on Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:02 pm

I voted other.

I think, you can get IT for a slightly below max - discount if you show him respect on his performance last year and resign him in the next 3 or 4 months.

Go to IT and say, instead of making you wait - lets do this now.  4 years - 28 per. You dont execute the contract until June, but you agree on terms now.
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by mulcogiseng on Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:17 pm

IT is a defensive liability because he is 5'7". He will always be a liability because he is vertically challenged.

IT will improve his offensive efficiency but he will not increase his scoring, that will go down. That, IMO, is a good thing for the TEAM.

IT is no longer the sole realistic scoring option and really shouldn't even be the #1 option. That would be Hayward.

IMO, one of the most unCeltic things you can say is "Back up the Brinks truck"  We don't need no KIng! IT pointing to his wrist as if to say it's all on ME? We no longer need those kind of hero ball theatrics. KD left 9 million per on the table to help his team. IF IT needs a max deal to make him feel worthwhile, then trade him before the deadline to a team where we can get top five draft picks and let IT trade banners for dollars.

This is a much better roster entering into the season then in the past few years. IT's role needs to change and he is perfectly capable of changing to meet the needs of this new roster and especially the new way the team is going to be asked to play.

While taking a few million less may seem meaningless, it could make the difference in getting the kind of quality role player needed to make those "finely tuned" adjustments.

Three years at 26, 28, and 30 million per. Player option in year 4 seems reasonable to pay him for what he's missed the past few years while still giving the TEAM flexibility.

My opinion of IT's play has changed this past season. I am much more of a fan than what I was this time last year. I'm so looking forward to the coming season and seeing how all the pieces fit together as we win the East and challenge for the Finals.

I voted no when the poll first appeared.
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by dboss on Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:32 pm

Thus far this has pretty much been a split decision.

Quite frankly I am a bit surprised by this.  I voted other because we need abother year to see how things fit together.

For those who voted no, I have a question for you.  Assuming IT wants a max deal what should the Celtics do since he will be a free agent?

Will passing on the PG Fultz come back and haunt us?  

How much should Boston be willing to spend and for how long.

Just wondering as I have not a clue

dboss


Last edited by dboss on Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by jrleftfoot on Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:17 pm

I`m not sure what " first option " means. If Gordon Hayward or Al Horford has a wide open shot, get him the ball. IT has proven himself perfectly capable of finding the open man under duress. Admittedly, he has, on occasion, forced the issue when the Celtics " shooters" couldn`t hit the broad side of a barn. If " first option" means having the ball in your hands with the game on the line and deciding whether to penetrate, shoot, or give it up to somebody else, I don`t think there is anyone else on the Cs in Thomas`s league. I voted yes because he is far and away the Celtics best offensive player and I fear stagnation without him. I profoundly disagree with the idea that his defensive deficiencies come close to negating his offensive production. That being said " other" is probably the right call, because his injury is a wild card.
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by sinus007 on Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:28 pm

Mulcogiseng,
I think it's not fair to compare IT's contract situation with KD's contract situation.
It's a general consensus that currently there's no team in NBA that can realistically challenge GSW as they're currently constructed. So, KD virtually paid $9M to keep the team as is which, IMO, gives him 90+% probability to get the second ring. I bet IT would do the same.
Now, it doesn't matter if IT agrees to $25M or $28M or $30M. The probability that Celtics get someone who'd put them on the same level as GSW for that difference in IT's contract, is very, very low.
Obviously, all my arguments based on the current state of affairs and assumptions.

AK
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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by swish on Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:59 pm

Further thoughts about this upcoming year.

* Assuming all are healthy and Thomas cotinues his play as an elite player.
* Who is the proven roster player that will take the place of Bradley in the backcourt next to Thomas ?
* Will Baynes suddenly play 25 minutes per game and solve the Celtics rebounding woes ?
* And what if Thomas is not healthy.
* Who plays the point next to - guess who ?

swish

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Re: Should The Celtics Reward Isaiah Thomas With A Max Contract?

Post by fierce on Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:26 pm

Definitely IT deserves the max if he plays well again next season.
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