When you’re wearing Brinks truck slides, you know contract questions are going to come up.
Isaiah Thomas has been clear from the start: He loves being a Boston Celtic and wants to stay with the team where he became an All-NBA player, but he knows next summer’s contract is his one big kick at the can and he wants to get paid. Thomas reiterated all of that speaking at his youth camp, a video of which Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe posted.
“I’m going to play my game. I’m going to play the game the way I know how and play to win, I think everything else will take care of itself. It’s not like I’m going in, ‘it’s a contract year, I’m going to do this’ I’m just going to be myself, it’s the only thing I know how to do. People always say he’s always talking about (the contract), I only talk about it when people bring it up. My time will come, like I say, and when that time comes we’ll make sure we handle it the right way…
“Boston knows where my heart is at, I would love to be back, I would love to be here for years to come. Sometimes this game is a business, and just like the Celtics are going to look out for themselves I gotta do what’s best for my family, and hopefully, that’s here in Boston.”
The first question for Thomas needs to be is his hip healthy? For an undersized player like Thomas, who relies on quickness and having a crafty game, just a little loss of mobility/explosion in his hip could dramatically impact his play. If he is right, the Celtics need to make sure this contract talk doesn’t become a distraction in a year the Celtics could challenge or pass the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference (not just in the regular season but in the playoffs).
Next summer, it’s going to be interesting to watch the Thomas situation. Normally if a 29-year-old, All-NBA player who averaged 28 points a game came up it would be a no-question max contract (Boston can go five-years, $177 million). Thomas may well be different, teams will be hesitant about that fourth — and for Boston certainly the fifth — year of that contract. Also, in a tight market, can teams come in at less than the $35 million (if he’s All-NBA again)? I would not be shocked to see Thomas get offers of three or four years, maybe in the $85 to $120 million range. That’s a big contract, he’ll make nearly as much in the 2018-19 season as he has his entire career up to that point, but it would not be the max. It will be interesting to watch.