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.

 

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade on time they faced off 1-on-1: “We was out there killing each other”

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LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are good friends, they go together like peanut butter and jelly. They and their families hang out and ride banana boats together in the off-season.

They are also both incredibly competitive men.

So you had to figure they went 1-on-1 against each other at some point. It happened, once. Wade and LeBron talked about it on Channing Frye’s Road Trippin’ podcast(transcription via the USA Today).

James: “We played 1-on-1 one time in our whole life, and it was during the finals. Eastern Conference finals 2010 (they meant the 2010-11 season, that ECF was in May 2011). Our first year.”

Wade: “It was more-so to set a precedent for our teammates because we got our ass kicked the game before, Game 1 by Chicago. They tore us.”

James: “MVP Rose tore our ass up in Chicago, and we came in the next day, we was like we need to set the tone, so we was out there killing each other playing 1-on-1.”

Wade: “We never finished.”

James: “We never finished. We got to the point where (head coach Erik Spoelstra) blew the whistle, like bring it in.”

Wade: “Everybody was just watching us. We was going at it. We competitive, we was going at it, but we was setting a tone for this is how it’s gotta go. You gotta be able to go at this. We’re two of the best players in this game. We going at each other in the Eastern Conference finals right now. We out there killing each other, and this is what ya’ll better do tomorrow. Because we got beat on the boards by 20-something and we have to come with it, and we won four in a row.”

A 2011 Heat practice? There has to be video of this somewhere.

Miami did win that Eastern Conference Finals, but LeBron and Wade should have gone at it again during the NBA Finals, where the Heat lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.

Report: Rockets’ Luc Mbah a Moute expected to miss 2-3 weeks

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The Rockets’ rotation is excellent, and their deep bench is lacking.

That’s part of the reason Luc Richard Mbah a Moute posted a ridiculous +57 in a 30-point win earlier this season.

But Houston will miss the forward for a while after he injured his shoulder against the Hornets yesterday.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s first inclination might be to shorten his rotation. He should mostly resist it.

Home-court advantage is important, and P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza can play more power forward (with Eric Gordon absorbing more minutes at small forward). But it’s also better to play Troy Williams more now than to wear down the players Houston will rely on in the playoffs, when D’Antoni will surely keep his rotation tight.

PBT Podcast: Early trade deadline breakdown with Dan Feldman

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The NBA’s trade market did not collapse after the Jahlil Okafor trade.

There’s more to come, but with the trade deadline is less than two months away, we have more questions than answers. DeAndre Jordan very likely could be on the move from the Clippers (and Lou Williams, too). But what is Memphis going to do about Mark Gasol? New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins? Oklahoma City with Paul George? And if any of those guys are available, who is a buyer? Cleveland? Milwaukee? Portland?

Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports break down the high end of the trade market, plus talk about other guys who could be on the move — maybe Nikola Mirotic from Chicago, and what about someone like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Charlotte — before Feb. 8 gets here. The last couple of trade deadlines have been interesting, but will we see a move that changes the landscape of the NBA playoffs in a meaningful way?

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Joel Embiid calls out Karl Anthony-Towns’ defense during Instagram trash talk

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Joel Embiid often gloats on Instagram after 76ers wins.

Of course he did after Philadelphia beat Minnesota on Tuesday, specifically calling attention to this move on Karl-Anthony Towns (and this 76ers fan custom):

Embiid:

Towns commented:

That caption was as trash as your picture quality

Embiid replied:

Better quality than your defense

Embiid insisted it’s all in good fun.

Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

https://twitter.com/JCameratoNBCS/status/941395953113804800

I’m not sure Towns is having as much fun as Towns. But I know this:

Embiid had a valid point.