After the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics faced off in the 2017 playoffs, the teams have continued their showdown into the offseason—and this time, it could determine the future of each franchise.
Last week, the Cavs and Celtics agreed to swap All-Star point guards, with Boston landing Kyrie Irving and Cleveland netting Isaiah Thomas, along with Jae Crowder, rookie big man Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick. But after the Celtics point guard‘s physical with the Cavaliers, LeBron James’ team is now seeking more compensation.
Before the deal, the teams exchanged information about the injured hip that had forced Thomas out of the playoffs, but Cleveland is making the argument that Boston wasn’t entirely forthcoming.
Now the Cavs have their sights set on even more sweeteners.
“Cleveland is going to try to inquire about a couple of the Celtics’ young players, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, who they tried to get in the original trade, that is very unlikely,” Adrian Wojnarowski told SportsCenter over the weekend. Woj originally broke the story of the Cavs’ dispute over Thomas’ hip. “But Boston still has a war chest of future first-round picks of their own, and some picks they control from other teams, and Cleveland is going to try to get one more of those to finalize this deal.”
Cleveland isn’t going to get Brown or Tatum, the No. 3 picks of the 2016 the 2017 drafts, respectively, but a rich ask is not a bad strategy, particularly when Boston still has a stash or first-round picks at their disposal, any of which the Celtics would much rather part with than see Brown or Tatum go.
“Boston is resisting, and are going to initially at least, resist this idea,” Woj added. “Boston believes that it was completely transparent with Cleveland about where Thomas was physically, his rehab. Cleveland’s version of this is that they didn’t realize how long Thomas could potentially be out this season. He’s in the final year of his contract, and obviously, that matches up with what will likely be the final year of LeBron’s current deal, and so there’s going to be a showdown here between these two teams that may last a couple more days.”
Barring protections, the Celtics have access to first-round draft picks from the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, and Memphis Grizzlies over the three upcoming seasons.