The Celtics’ point guard situation could go a number of different directions this summer, so what if an old friend made a return to resurrect his career?
Isaiah Thomas hasn’t been the same since he was traded to the Cavaliers in the deal that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston.
He severely injured his hip during his last season with the Celtics and opted against surgery before his first campaign with the Cavs. That turned out to be the wrong decision. Thomas wasn’t himself physically, and the trainwreck that the Cavs were before last year’s trade deadline was unjustly blamed on him.
He was then traded to another circus of a franchise in the Lakers, where he only played in 17 games before he was shut down for hip surgery. After signing a one-year deal with the Nuggets, Thomas took his time getting back and never established a spot in Denver’s rotation.
There was really nobody to blame for that situation. Thomas had to take the necessary time to heal and by the time he got back, the Nuggets were in a race for playoff seeding and couldn’t afford to give him the time to get comfortable. Thomas took it in stride and now faces another free agency to try and revamp his career.
The Celtics might find themselves in a situation where they need to fill three ball handler roles. Kyrie Irving could leave for Brooklyn, LA or somewhere else, I’d be surprised if Terry Rozier returns after basically burning the bridge between him and the Celtics front office/coaching staff, and Brad Wanamaker is a free agent as well and could look for a bigger role than the one he had lat season.
If Thomas is looking to for a one-year “prove it” deal, the Celtics could have a spot for him where they both sides could benefit from each other.
Thomas needs the ball in his hands to maximize his potential, so deploying him as a spark plug to get buckets off the bench could serve as a way to remind the league how good he can be and give Boston a stable offense to go to when its key players are resting.
We all know Thomas’ defense is an issue. He isn’t a good defender, he isn’t versatile and it’s more than likely he never becomes anything more than mediocre on that side of the floor. However, the Celtics are equipped to mask Thomas’ shortcomings on defense with the number of switchy wings they’ve acquired since he was traded away.
If Stevens can deploy Thomas on offense effectively while mitigating his defensive issues, the upside for the Celtics could be much higher than what it would be with any other veteran point guard set to hit the free agent market.
Also, if Irving leaves, Marcus Smart and Al Horford most likely become the leaders of the team, but it wouldn’t be difficult for Thomas to provide the positive veteran presence he did during his brief time with the Celtics. If Irving stays and Thomas is brought on as a backup, that locker room dynamic would definitely be something to keep an eye on as a potential concern.
This is all hypothetical and may as well not happen, but a reunion with Thomas would be an interesting chapter in both the Celtics’ rebuild as well as Thomas’ career. One thing is for certain though. Boston loves Isaiah, and Isaiah loves Boston. If it’s the best decision for both sides, a reunion would surely be welcomed with opened arms.
Photo credit: The Sports Fan Journal