By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Through numerous reports, it’s clear the Cleveland Cavaliers want even more from the Boston Celtics in their agreed-upon swap for point guard Kyrie Irving.
There’s just one issue: The Cavs haven’t discussed that with the Celtics, according to a report by The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy.
Talk about a clown show.
Cleveland and Boston have until Thursday morning to complete or void their blockbuster trade, or the two sides can agree on an extended deadline (because we all want this soap opera to go on a little bit longer). The hangup with the trade, which has Irving heading to the Celtics in return for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the unprotected 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick, is Thomas’ bad hip, which may cause the point guard to miss a significant chunk of time to start the 2017-18 season.
The Cavs brass is acting shocked at the condition of Thomas’ hip following his physical on Friday, but none of those findings should really come as a surprise. It was against the Cavaliers last May that Thomas’ injury got to be too much for him to play through, causing Boston’s leading scorer to miss the final three-and-a-half games of the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics medical staff feels they’ve been completely transparent with Thomas’ condition throughout trade talks, with Cleveland, as noted by Murphy:
The Celtics medical staff, headed by Dr. Brian McKeon, was in extensive contact with its Cleveland counterpart in the days leading up to the Aug. 22 trade, with an equally extensive exchange of information stemming from Thomas’ recovery from a torn labrum in his right hip.
Multiple reports now indicate that Cleveland officials, including new general manager Koby Altman, believe Thomas’ return may be more delayed than the Celtics relayed.
Though they haven’t relayed as much to Cleveland, the Celtics believe they were transparent with Altman at the time that agreement was reached on the trade.
Though subsequent reports also have the Cavaliers now aiming for Celtics assets like rookie Jayson Tatum and second-year forward Jaylen Brown, don’t expect that possibility to gain any traction.
Murphy notes that the Celtics do not have a backup plan if the trade falls through, or any desire to add anything to the deal.
Boston would be crazy to add anything else to the deal, especially one of their two promising young talents in either Brown or Tatum, both of whom came up in initial negotiations of the trade. If it’s really going to take an additional asset because the Cavaliers are overreacting to something they already knew, Ainge could always add an additional second-round pick of a protected first-round selection. But he shouldn’t have to, and he certainly shouldn’t budge from there, giving in to a team that is essentially trying to hold the Celtics hostage for no apparent reason.
Someone is Cleveland is holding up the deal for one reason or another and it’s a bad look for the Cavs, from new GM Koby Altman to owner Dan Gilbert, who has a lengthy history of mucking things up in Cleveland. They’re trying to get even more out of the Celtics and take advantage of an awkward situation, knowing how challenging it would be for Boston to have a harmonious reunion with Thomas and Crowder following the announcement of the deal. The Cavs themselves would be crazy to back out, even if Thomas is injured worse than initially thought. The centerpiece of the deal was the Brooklyn pick, not Thomas, with Crowder’s bargain contract and two-way play on the floor another sweetener. The Cavs are not going to get a better deal from anyone else vying for Irving’s services, and they should be pretty darn happy with the package they’re getting from Boston.
With the countdown on to get a deal done, the Cavaliers are getting awfully greedy. Trader Danny should call their bluff.