Put yourself in Isaiah Thomas' shoes.
You just turned 28. You're second in the NBA in scoring, averaging about 30 points per game. If you keep it up, you'll be an MVP candidate at season's end. And your team is the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Your boss possesses, arguably, the most valuable trade chip available, in the form of the Brooklyn Nets' first round draft pick. There's little doubt that the Nets will finish with the worst record in the league, giving the Celtics the best chance to pick No. 1 overall in this summer's NBA Draft. And your team has some holes that need to be filled.
It's a no-brainer. Trade the pick. Get some help. Build a championship contender right now. Especially since the top-two projected players in this year's draft are point guards.
Reminder: you're still in Thomas' shoes.
You decide to tweet. Emojis become your thing. Eyes, an hourglass, a watch, then another hourglass.
The trade deadline comes and goes. Your team makes no moves. You have plenty of time to take it all in, sleep on it, and return from the All-Star break.
A day after the deadline, before your game in Toronto, the media asks if you're surprised the Celtics didn't add any players. So you answer the question.
"I'm surprised we didn't make a move, but that's not my job," you tell reporters during the pregame.
"I trust in [president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge and those guys in the front office. That's what they do on a daily basis. They know that they had a good deal or they didn't.
"Just like last year. Since I've been here, we haven't had a trade, so it's not a surprise. We just roll with the punches and go with what we've got in this locker room."
Decent response from a public-relations perspective, except for the first part where you admitted you were surprised the team didn't make a move. That statement says it all.
Now, step out of Thomas' shoes.
The fact that he would even consider expressing he was surprised the team didn't make a move at the deadline tells the story here.
Ainge and Thomas are not on the same page. And after another trade deadline with no move to improve the team, how could they be? Especially since Ainge seemingly refuses to give up this year's Brooklyn pick, which most likely will result in drafting a point guard.
Thomas isn't stupid. He knows all about next year's draft class. He's aware that Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are projected to go No. 1 and No. 2 overall. And there's no way he's on board with that.
It's why I've been saying the Celtics can't have it both ways. They can't draft a point guard with the No. 1 overall pick and expect Thomas to be happy. Last time I checked, Thomas is a free agent after next season. Like it or not, he's going to get a max contract from someone.
Much like Ainge has a decision to make with this year's Brooklyn pick — trade it or keep it — Thomas has a decision to make about his future, as well. Will he stay in Boston, or sign a max contract elsewhere?
Those who say the Celtics should commit to both — drafting a point guard and re-signing Thomas — are living in fantasy land. That would be a "perfect world" scenario. And I'm sorry, but it's just not reality.
Look, if Ainge is going to keep the pick and draft either Fultz or Ball, then it would just make sense to trade Thomas this offseason instead of letting him walk for nothing. But as good as Fultz or Ball might be in the NBA, I would prefer the Celtics choose to keep Thomas and trade the pick in a package to get him some serious help.
And I’m pretty sure Thomas prefers that as well. Which is why he was “surprised” to see Ainge not make a move at last week’s deadline.
Put yourself in Thomas’ shoes. Wouldn’t you feel the same way?
I know I would.
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