BOSTON – If you go to the Celtics’ website, you will find an image of Kyrie Irving among the players on their roster. Click over the Cleveland Cavaliers’ website and you will see a smiling Isaiah Thomas on their roster roll call as well as Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic.
While the deal isn’t officially done, courtesy of last-second concerns on Cleveland’s part regarding Thomas’ hip, both teams have carried on with their business as if it’s a matter of when, not if, this deal will get done.
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- Report: Cavs have yet to ask for more from Celtics to complete trade
That’s because both know that they are too far down this road to turn back now and not come away with the players that they’ve already agreed to trade for.
In talking with folks throughout the NBA who have a vested interest in how this all plays out, there has been one significant point to emerge.
These two teams have access to the same medical information, but each has interpreted it differently, which is why we have a stalemate now.
Multiple sources who have been in contact with the Cavs say that they don’t believe the Celtics duped them and held back medical information. But from the information they have received and what they saw up close when Thomas came in for a physical last week, they believe his return to action will be longer than anticipated and that surgery could potentially become an option.
Meanwhile, the Celtics feel his time missed won’t be significant. That’s why they were eager to see the results of a scan test on his hip which was scheduled for early September. One of the reasons they included the unprotected 2018 Brooklyn pick was to help make Thomas’ hip injury less of an issue.
Cleveland’s concern has to do with losing Thomas for a significant period of time and not having the flexibility to fill that void. By adding three players via this trade and losing one (Irving), the Cavs have the NBA-maximum of 15 players with guaranteed salaries.
So if Thomas gets hurt, Cleveland can’t bring in another player without having to eat a guaranteed salary to do so.
Iman Shumpert could be on the move, but so the Cavs have had no takers so far.
The thinking now is if they can attach a draft pick to a deal for Shumpert and not receive a player in return, that would give them the flexibility to add another player to the roster in case Thomas goes down with a potentially season-ending injury.
Plus, the addition of Crowder gives them a bigger, more physical 3-and-D guy in comparison to Shumpert.
And while the Celtics are reportedly resisting the idea of adding another pick to the deal, there’s no telling if that position will soften as we get closer to the Thursday morning deadline for the deal to get done or be rescinded, barring both sides agreeing to extend the window of negotiation.
Figuring out exactly what Cleveland’s looking for in all this has been perplexing for many throughout the NBA.
At the end of the day, the fallout from not getting a deal done is too great for either team to stomach going forward.