There have been a lot of really crazy storylines that have taken place during the NBA offseason this summer. From Paul George getting traded to the Thunder to Jimmy Butler getting dealt to the Timberwolves, the NBA is going to look completely different when the 2017-18 season starts this fall due to some of the moves that were made. But the storyline involving Isaiah Thomas’ hip and the halt that it put on a potential trade involving Kyrie Irving might turn out to be the wildest storyline of all—and on Tuesday night, Thomas finally broke his silence and spoke about it for the first time.
If you have somehow managed to lose track of the storyline, the Cavaliers and Celtics agreed to a trade on Aug. 22 that called for Irving to be sent to Boston in exchange for Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick. And all signs pointed to the trade going through without a problem. But then, the Cavaliers gave Thomas a physical to evaluate his hip since he injured it last season and had to be pulled out of the Celtics’ playoff run because of it, and they saw something they didn’t like. So according to numerous reports, they started asking the Celtics for more in exchange for Irving to account for Thomas’ injury.
That has delayed the Irving-for-Thomas deal for the moment, and there is some uncertainty about whether or not it will ultimately end up going through. If Thomas won’t be able to play for part of or possibly even all of next season, it seems the Cavaliers don’t want to part ways with Irving for him since it would make their team significantly weaker. So for now, no one outside of the Cleveland or Boston front offices knows what’s going on.
Thomas himself doesn’t seem to know what’s going to happen next with him. But on Tuesday, he spoke with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski about his hip injury and the Irving trade for the first time, and he said that he’s not planning on letting the injury slow him down for very long. He maintained that he will be the same player when he gets back onto the court next season, even though he’s not 100 percent sure when that will be.
"I am not damaged," Thomas said. "I’ll be back, and I’ll be the same player…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. 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."
As far as where he’ll play when he comes back? That’s still up in the air, and even Thomas is waiting to see how things play out. He told Wojnarowski he has been in constant contact with the Cavaliers since news of the Irving trade first surfaced. But he doesn’t seem to know exactly where they stand right now.
"I don’t know what [the organization] is doing," he 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 in the future."
For now, Irving, Thomas, and the entire NBA world will have to wait to see where this storyline takes us next. But regardless of where Thomas ends up next season, it sounds like he’s going to be prepared to play. You can go here to see what else he had to say during his interview with ESPN.