|Photo: Associated Press
If the Phoenix Suns are looking to deal point guard Isaiah Thomas before Thursday's NBA trading deadline, then the Celtics should look into acquiring the young talented guard.
The Suns have plenty of depth at the point guard position with Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic. Dragic will be a restricted free agent this summer, and despite rumors about Phoenix wanting to trade Dragic, ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that the Suns would rather trade Thomas.
Phoenix will most likely lock Dragic in on a contract extension over the summer, if they can trade Thomas for an expiring contract. Brandon Bass and a future first-round pick may be enough to bring in Thomas. An expiring contract like Bass' would give them the cap space they need to sign Dragic over the summer.
The Suns are really thin in the frontcourt. Markieff Morris and Alex Len start at power forward and center for Phoenix and don't get a lot of help from their bench. Brandon Bass would give them the offense they need from their bench and can play both positions for Phoenix. The Suns are gearing up for a Western Conference battle for the eighth seed against teams like Oklahoma City and New Orleans, and will look to add a big man into their depth chart before the deadline.
It wouldn't be the first time the Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge showed interest in Thomas. Two years ago, Ainge was reportedly interested in trading for the young guard when he was in Sacramento, and just last summer when he was a free agent, Thomas admitted that Ainge was one of the first people who called him. So it's safe to say that Ainge does like him.
Thomas would be a good fit in Boston. He's a shoot first point guard who commits very little turnovers (2.1 career average) and could most likely push the Celtics into making the playoffs. Although Evan Turner has done a decent job as the floor general since the Rondo deal, the Celtics still don't have a true starting point guard on their roster. Thomas would solve that problem for this season and in the near future.
Thomas, who's been coming off the bench for Phoenix, is averaging 15.2 points and 3.7 assists this season. But last season when he was the starting point guard for Sacramento, Thomas averaged nearly five assists and 20 points per game. He's also currently on a team-friendly four-year contract worth just over $27 million. His contract is a bargain for a player of his caliber who just turned 26 years-old.
The thought of the Celtics dealing for Thomas will sicken Celtics fans who still want the C's to tank the season away and cash in on a high first round pick in the draft. But one thing to consider is the fact that this team may be too talented to slip down to tenth or eleventh in the east. The Celtics may have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league, so even if they don't make the playoffs, they're not going to slip that far down and end up with a high pick in the lottery.
If you think Marcus Smart is ready to start at point guard for the Celtics, you're wrong. Smart isn't ready to be the team's starting point guard. One common misconception about the Rajon Rondo deal is that Ainge dealt Rondo because he's ready to give Smart the keys to run the team. Ainge didn't make the deal because Smart is on the team, he traded Rondo because he was going to lose him to free agency so he got the most he could for Rondo in trading him to Dallas.
Smart will develop into a good point guard, but it's going to take another season or two. In the meantime, acquiring Thomas would be a step in the right direction for the C's.
If Danny can pull off this deal, he will solidify his backcourt in Thomas, Smart, Turner, Avery Bradley, and James Young, and will upgrade his team's value before this summer's NBA free agency pool opens.