Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas on 2018 free agency: “They’ve got to bring the Brinks truck”

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Isaiah Thomas — the cornerstone of the Boston Celtics’ offense, an All-NBA player who averaged 28.9 points per game last season — will make $6.3 million next season. Which by NBA standards is an absolute steal. Thomas has never made more than $7.2 million for a season and has career earnings after last season of $22.9 million.

Next summer Thomas is a free agent, and he wants to get PAID. As in he could make more in the 2018-19 season than he had in his career up to that point. He told CSNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely it’s time for Boston to make things right.

“I’m a max guy. I deserve the max… my time is coming, they know they’ve got to bring the Brinks truck.”

The max for Thomas would be five years at around $172 million, starting at about $30 million a year (we don’t know the exact numbers because we don’t know next year’s salary cap number, but it is expected to be similar to this year’s). For most All-NBA players, that’s not even a question, they get maxed out, but Thomas could be different.

Boston is not going to want to go five years, maybe not even four. Thomas will be 29 at the time, and the history of undersized players in the NBA suggests that when their skills start to fall off the decline happens fast. Combine that with all the money Boston is now spending to bring in Gordon Hayward and the fact Marcus Smart needs to get paid next summer as well, and Boston may be looking for a deal, reports Zach Lowe of ESPN.

The Celtics are eyeing all of this, confident they can retain Thomas on a deal well below his max.

Could Boston get Thomas on a three-year, $80 million contract? That is below the max and a reasonable number of years, plus Thomas makes a lot of money. Would he go for it? He’s a free agent, other teams could jump in, although next year’s free agent market is expected to be very tight, with only a handful of teams having max contract money, and those teams will be targeting other guys (LeBron James, Paul George, Russell Westbrook) before Thomas. It’s hard to picture a team coming in with a four-year offer at the max, but it only takes one.

Thomas’ free agency is a year away, and that’s a lifetime in the NBA. Next summer, things could look quite different for Thomas and the Celtics, but his free agency is going to be something to watch.

 

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.