BOSTON (CBS) — NBA free agency began at midnight, and the Boston Celtics reached out to a point guard.
Just not their own.
As the clock struck midnight on Monday night, the Celtics placed a call to Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The 25-year-old Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game for Sacramento last season, his third year in the league.
The Kings drafted Thomas with the 60th pick in 2011 — the final pick of that year’s draft.
Boston’s reported interest in Thomas will just further fuel the speculation that Rajon Rondo, a free agent after this season, may be nearing the end of his Celtics career. The Kings were one of the teams mentioned when Rondo trade rumors surfaced at last season’s trade deadline, and more recently last Thursday during the NBA draft. With Thomas being a restricted free agent and due for a raise, Danny Ainge and the Celtics may have to work a sign-and-trade in order to land his services.
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The Celtics could also be interested in bringing in Thomas to play behind Rondo, though for a rebuilding team with limited cap space to work with, paying for a back up point guard while having a glaring need at center wouldn’t make much sense. But Avery Bradley is now a restricted free agent and Thomas could backup Rondo while Boston’s two first-round picks in last week’s draft, guards Marcus Smart and James Young, could take over for Bradley should he sign elsewhere. Boston extended Bradley a qualifying offer on Monday, meaning they can match any offer he receives from other teams.
The Celtics reportedly contacted 30 players when free agency began, according to The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy, including forwards Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons.
For now, Boston’s call to Thomas was just to express interest in a restricted free agent. But it could turn into the end of Rajon Rondo or Avery Bradley in Boston, possibly both.
Thomas wouldn’t be the fireworks the Celtics hinted could happen this summer, but signing a young point guard early in free agency would certainly light the fuse.
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