Isaiah Thomas has worked his way up from the last pick in the draft to an All-Star who led his team to the conference finals.
But he has yet to reap the rewards of his progress.
Thomas is still locked into a four-year, $27 million contract he signed before breaking out with the Celtics. Now, a year before he’s set to cash in, Boston has the No. 1 pick and will likely draft another point guard: Markelle Fultz.
Fultz is embracing the pairing. How does Thomas feel? He said he has spoken to the prospect.
Thomas, via Chris Forsberg of ESPN:
“He asks questions; I answer them,” Thomas said. “He’s a good friend of mine. If it happens, we’ll figure out how to play together. If not, we’ll go from there.”
Thomas and Fultz are both better with the ball in their hands, so there would be diminishing returns on the pairing. A higher talent level than better-fitting backcourts could supersede that, but it’s hard to see the concern completely dissipating.
Fultz – on a cost-controlled contract for four years then bound by restricted free agency – could affect how the Celtics handle the 28-year-old Thomas. I wouldn’t blame Thomas for disliking the situation.
But if Thomas and Fultz – who share an alma mater in Washington – enter their time of teammates with the best intentions of working together, that could go a long way. At minimum, both sound on board.