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


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.


Report: Michele Roberts to seek second contract as players’ union head

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Michele Roberts entered the NBA’s player union in a tumultuous time — long-time union president Billy Hunter had been ousted in a rancorous fight, the union felt adrift, and negotiations with the NBA on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement were looming (and players felt they had been screwed in the last CBA, following the lockout).

Roberts, the first female head of a professional sports labor union, settled things down. She cleaned up the union finances and made them more transparent to players, she worked hard to establish relationships with the players, and while she rattled some sabers with the NBA in negotiations, she also worked in a non-combative way with Adam Silver and team (unlike the Billy Hunter/David Stern relationship) and got a deal done the players liked without a lockout or labor mess.

Roberts’ contract with the union is up, but she is going to ask for a new deal — one she likely gets — reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

With an original four-year agreement set to expire in September, Michele Roberts plans to seek a new contract as the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, sources tell ESPN…

Roberts had strongly considered staying in the NBPA’s executive director role for only the length of her original contract — and expressed that to the union’s senior membership — but has recently decided to pursue a longer tenure, sources said.

NBPA president Chris Paul played a significant part in Roberts’ hiring in July 2014 and he has built a strong working relationship with Roberts.

Roberts also has a good relationship with the star-heavy executive committee of the union — CP3, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and others — making it likely she gets a new deal.

As for what’s next, at the front of that list Roberts is working with Silver and others on reforming the NBA’s one-and-done rule (it was supposed to be part of the CBA negotiations but was too big and complex an issue to fold into that timeline).

Neither the owners or players can opt out of the CBA for four more years (and if neither side does it runs a couple more beyond that) so labor peace will continue in the NBA for a while.

Isaiah Thomas rewarded on epic flop with offensive foul call vs. Heat

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Why do NBA players flop on defense? Because it works.

While there is less of it than there was a couple of years back — when the NBA made a big show about calling more flops and warning (then eventually fining players a pittance) for the move — it still exists. Case in point, this impressive one from Isaiah Thomas of the Lakers on Tyler Johnson of the Heat Friday night (hat tip AminElHassavag at NBA Reddit).

Was there a little contact, sure, but Thomas fell back like he was shot by the second gunman on the grassy knoll. He exaggerated the contact, which is the definition of flopping. Thing is, he got the call (the ref who made the call, from his position, might only have seen the contact and not necessarily the extent of exaggeration, but that’s where the other officials need to step in).

Not that everything went Thomas’ way Friday night.

Suns’ Marquese Chriss, Jared Dudley fined $25,000 each for knocking down Ricky Rubio


Marquese Chriss and Jared Dudley got off light.

There should have been suspensions involved for the cheap shots leveled on Ricky Rubio by the pair during Thursday night’s blowout Jazz win. Instead, the pair were fined $25,000 a piece by the league Saturday for this incident.

Rubio has a knee contusion from the incident Jazz coach Quin Snyder confirmed, however, Rubio is available to play Saturday vs. the Kings.

Dudley was given a flagrant 2 and ejected at the time, Chriss was handed just a flagrant 1 for his escalation. I don’t completely buy Dudley’s explanation here either — I think they were pissed Rubio stepped over a down Chriss to inbound the ball and made him pay for it — but he did own up to it being excessive.

So to be clear, if you throw a haymaker and miss — as Aaron Afflalo did recently — that’s a two-game suspension. But if you throw or body check a player to the ground, that’s just 25 large, no time missed. Players wanting retaliation will take note of that.

Roulette tables are less random than the NBA’s enforcement policies.

Check out Terrance Ferguson’s acrobatic layup vs. Clippers (VIDEO)


It was supposed to be an alley-oop.

However, Raymond Felton‘s pass was low. And not just a little low, a few feet low.

Oklahoma City’s athletic rookie Terrance Ferguson was leaving the ground as the pass was thrown, meaning he had to make an in-air adjustment — and the results were spectacular.