In fact, he might be more than angry. He could be all the way to pissed off. He could be cheesed, peeved, grouchy, grumpy, or any other Seven Dwarves adjective. Or he could be something different entirely – bitter, for example. Bitterness is way more toxic than anger in interpersonal situations. It all depends on how scared the Cavaliers are of his hip injury and how hard of a line the Celtics want to take.
The trade was all set: Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s 2018 1st round pick. The teams had tweeted it and everything. Then Cleveland came to the conclusion that Thomas’s hip injury that they already knew about while making the trade was a concern. Now they want more stuff, just in case. This seems kind of dumb, sure, but the team and its doctors have all the power here. A voided trade won’t drastically change things for the Cavs. Worst case is Irving, who they’re still going to trade anyway, won’t be happy. Whatever. If your girlfriend is moving out, is it that big a deal if you piss her off a little more as she’s leaving?
Boston really can’t let this deal fall apart, however. Bringing two players you just tried to trade back into the fold of a team that’s trying dethrone LeBron James isn’t a great plan. Although, giving up Jason Tatum or Jaylen Brown as well just to keep it together also isn’t great. If that’s the new going rate, some real tough decisions will have to be made. They wanted Kyrie to lead the way before, and now they kind of need him. Because Isaiah Thomas isn’t going to be that guy for them now.
Thomas has been underestimated and disrespected his whole career. He’s reached the unbelievable heights he’s now at through pride, stubbornness, and insane self-belief. So how do you think he feels about being traded from the franchise that he just led to the #1 seed in the East? Do you think he’d be content going back to that team knowing they were ready to get rid of him? Nah, didn’t think so.
On the other hand, how happy will he be in Cleveland if the deal does work out after all? Before he could even put on a Cavalier uniform his team has doubted what he can contribute. They don’t believe he’ll get back to peak form, but I’m willing to bet that Thomas does believe that. It’s understandable from the team’s perspective, but two other NBA teams gave up on Thomas before and they’ve got regrets about that now.
Thomas has no love for his former teams. How will he feel about the Cavs if he’s stuck there knowing management isn’t 100% invested in him? If he’s bitter or angry or anything less than content, that locker room could have some issues. LeBron may not be interested in dealing with another surly point guard for long.
It’s all super complicated. Ultimately, I think the deal goes through as currently constructed or with another, lesser Celtic player thrown in. It’s what makes the most sense for both sides. Boston gets their man and avoids a tense situation. Cleveland realizes this is by far the best deal they’re going to get and doesn’t overplay their hand. Everyone gets to move on to prepare for what will surely be an intense and awkward opening night game against each other. How Isaiah Thomas will be feeling that night, and what jersey he’ll be wearing, is still up in the air.
This is the NBA, and things hardly ever go that smoothly. I’m cool with some more weird stuff going down if need be. The teams have until tomorrow to finalize the deal or it’s automatically voided. Soon either the Summer of Kyrie will be over or a new chapter will begin.
No matter what happens, we must thank Kyrie Irving for keeping the NBA interesting through August.