Isaiah Thomas has finally broken his silence after being traded by the Celtics to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving last week.
The All-Star guard spoke with Adrain Wojnarowski about the progress of his hip injury, and when will he return during the 2017-18 season.
"I am not damaged," Thomas said on Tuesday. "I'll be back, and I'll be the same player." [ESPN]Thomas was dealt to the Cavaliers on August 22, along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 unprotected first-round draft pick (via the Nets) for Irving. The blockbuster deal has been put on hold after concerns around Thomas' hip and his anticipated return have stalled the completion of the swap.
Boston and Cleveland officials spoke on Tuesday towards a solution, according to ESPN. The Cavaliers are no longer seeking either Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum as reported over the weekend, but are hopeful to land at least a first or a second-round pick as compensation per league sources.
The deadline to submit a physical for players involved in a trade is 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday and the deadline to pass the physical is 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, per league rules.
In an interview on Tuesday afternoon, Thomas talked about his season-ending injury, that forced him to miss the last three-games of the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland and says his hip will not impact his career going forward.
"There's never been an indication that I wouldn't be back, and there's never been an indication that this is something messing up my career," Thomas said. "Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I'm going to be back, and I'm going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that." [ESPN]Thomas, 28, is entering the final year of his contract and is in line for at least a $100 million deal next summer. He finished with a career high of 28.9 points per game, while making the All-Star team (in back-to-back seasons) and also grabbing second-team, All-NBA honors for the 2016-17 season.
"I haven't had one doctor tell me that this injury is going to hurt my career," Thomas said. "Surgery was not the best option in this case. I aggravated it in March when [Minnesota's] Karl-Anthony Towns fell on me. I kept playing on it and making it worse -- until I couldn't play anymore last season." [ESPN]Thomas has been in contact with the Cavaliers since Friday when he completed his physical in Cleveland.
"I don't know what [the organization] is doing," Thomas said. "It's out of my control. I just want to talk about what I can control, and I know that this [hip] won't be a problem into the future." [ESPN]Thomas would not speak on his feelings about being traded out of Boston and playing in Cleveland, but did talk about his hip specialist; Dr Bryan Kelly of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
"He told me, 'I have seen hips worse than yours with guys who played at a high level and had great careers,'" Thomas explained. "At the moment, yes, I am injured, but I have made progress from May." [ESPN]Boston has been clear on their assessment and communication of Thomas' physical status to Cleveland in conversations prior to last Tuesday's trade.
The Cavaliers believe the Celtics undersold them on the specifics of Thomas' injury and possible return this season. Both teams should arrive with a solution and terms of the deal no later than Thursday.
Here's a list of first-round picks for the the next two drafts the Celtics own:
Photo and video used courtesy of ESPN