Isaiah Thomas is a free agent after this season, and if we take him at his word, he hopes to stick with the Cleveland Cavaliers into his next contract.
Or at least past the trade deadline.
The two-time All-Star point guard, who only recently made his Cavaliers debut following recovery from a hip injury, told reporters after Cleveland’s Wednesday night win over the Minnesota Timberwolves that he’s happy right where he is—drama and all. From Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon:
saiah Thomas said he is not hoping he’s traded from the Cavaliers by Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline, while acknowledging the rocky start to his tenure here.
“I’m tired of being traded,” Thomas said, after the Cavs stunned Minnesota, 140-138 in overtime. “That’s not a good thing, but, I just want to be where I’m wanted. I like it here. It hasn’t been as planned, but I definitely want to be here. We definitely have a real chance to win an NBA championship and I want to be a part of that.”
Props to Thomas for saying this even after LeBron James ignored him while celebrating his game-winning fadeaway over Jimmy Butler:
lol @ LeBron running right past IT pic.twitter.com/1IhLLQDm1d
— Dan Favale (@danfavale) February 8, 2018
More seriously, Thomas could just be posturing. Or he could know the Cavaliers own his Bird rights and thus understand they have the ability to offer him more money than anyone else this summer, when the free-agent market is supposed to be ice cold.
Stability is also important to NBA players. And despite the profoundness of his stint with the Boston Celtics, Thomas didn’t even get through three seasons with the team. He’s never spent more than three years in one place, period. He could see real value in setting up shop somewhere long term, even in Cleveland, where the winters are brutal and the theatrics attached to LeBron’s presence are unforgiving.
Incidentally, much of Thomas’ future with the Cavaliers is tied to James’ free agency. Few actually expect the 5’9″ floor general to be dealt this season, but what happens to him if LeBron leaves? Will the Cavs re-sign him anyway to try remaining competitive? Will they let him walk to get younger?
Even as this team struggles, Thomas’ best shot at sticking in Cleveland lies with James’ return, since the Cavaliers won’t have the flexibility or motivation to replace him in that scenario.