After making the Eastern Conference finals and winning the No. 1 pick in the same season, everyone agrees that the Boston Celtics are in a tremendous spot. Everyone also agrees, however, that they will have some tough decisions to make going forward as they attempt to make the leap to title contention.
One of those decisions, is going to be whether to pay Isaiah Thomas. The last pick in the 2011 draft, Thomas turned into a borderline MVP candidate this season, finishing third in the league in scoring this season at 28.9 points per game. While that was great for the Celtics, it’s going to make their future a bit more murky as Thomas clearly played his way into being a max contract guy.
As USA Today’s Sam Amick laid out, that means next summer in order to keep Thomas around, the Celtics will have to give him a five-year deal worth just under $180 million. Via USA Today:
The most likely option would come in the following summer, when Thomas could sign a max contract worth a combined $179 million over five years (topping out at $40.8 million in the 2022-23 season). If, of course, his wandering eye doesn’t lead him elsewhere in free agency.
The worry, understandably, is about the back end of the deal. As awesome as Thomas was this season, he’ll be 34 at the end of that contract, and no one knows if he’ll still be playing at a level where it’s worth paying him over $40 million.
Celtics GM Danny Ainge agrees that the Celtics have a lot of tough calls to make over the next year or so, but one thing he’s certain on, is that he wants to keep Isaiah Thomas. Via the Boston Herald:
“Yeah, we can fit everybody in,” said Ainge. “But, listen, those are questions that I don’t even have answers for yet. That’s part of the difficult puzzle that is all hard.
“All I’m saying is those are things I have to worry about that even I don’t like to think about. And I know that those are going to be difficult decisions at some point. But we want to keep Isaiah.
“All I know is that he’s had an amazing year, and who doesn’t want Isaiah Thomas on their team? Like, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
This is Danny Ainge we’re talking about, so things could change at any moment. I mean, the guy traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett because he thought it would help the team in the future. But as of right now, who wouldn’t want to keep Thomas around?
Courtesy: CBS Sports