But when the Cavaliers put Thomas through a physical, they clearly found something concerning. After all, that’s why this deal remains in limbo.
My read is actually from the Cleveland side, and what I hear from there is that nothing they’ve found is anything different than what was conveyed to the Cavaliers in the trade discussions, and certainly in the medical information that was passed forward.
If the Cavaliers saw what they expected in Thomas’ physical, they should approve the trade. Period.
Otherwise, what are they going for? Trying to destroy Boston’s chemistry if Thomas and Jae Crowder get returned? Trying to extort another asset, as the Celtics now have greater incentive to get a deal done and avoid the disharmony that would come with reintegrating Thomas and Crowder? (Cleveland’s situation wouldn’t change nearly as much, with Irving unhappy there even prior to the trade).
If I were NBA commissioner Adam Silver, I’d have huge problems with either tactic. Teams can’t be allowed to leverage the existence of physicals (differentiated from the results of physicals) into holding other teams hostage and making players – like Thomas, who will become a free agent next summer but is now treated as damaged goods – collateral damage. I’d be looking into punishing the Cavs. The NBA constitution gives Silver broad power:
The Commissioner shall, wherever there is a rule for which no penalty is specifically fixed for violation thereof, have the authority to fix such penalty as in the Commissioner’s judgment shall be in the best interests of the Association. Where a situation arises which is not covered in the Constitution and By-Laws, the Commissioner shall have the authority to make such decision, including the imposition of a penalty, as in his judgment shall be in the best interests of the Association. The penalty that may be assessed under the preceding two sentences may include, without limitation, a fine, suspension, and/or the forfeiture or assignment of draft choices. No monetary penalty fixed under this provision shall exceed $2,500,000.
The Cavaliers have a right to conduct a physical. They needn’t rely on Boston’s evaluation. But that physical should also be conducted in good faith. If Thomas’ condition is no worse than the Cavs believed when agreeing to the trade, what’s the holdup?
That said, maybe this report isn’t completely accurate. It’d make sense coming from Boston, where there’s incentive to paint the Cavaliers as the problem. Coming from Cleveland? I just don’t get it, to the point I wonder what we’re missing.
It’s also worth noting, as of last check, the Cavs haven’t requested anything of Boston. We mostly presume they will. But until they do, there’s obviously no problem – and only a problem if this report is accurate.