It’s starting to seem more and more like the two sides might back out of the deal because of Cleveland’s concerns over the hip injury Thomas sustained towards the end of last season. Even though Thomas has gone on the record and said that he will play next season, the Cavaliers are worried that the injury could sideline him for longer than expected, and the Celtics are reportedly unwilling to offer anything else in the trade—which also includes Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick—so there’s a chance the deal could die before it’s completed.
In the event that the Cavaliers and Celtics do decide to move on without coming to terms on their original deal, both teams will have a huge problem on their hands. They will have players who thought they were traded coming back into the fold, and that seems like a recipe for disaster. So we expect both sides to start entertaining new trade offers right away if that turns out to be the case.
The Celtics might have some trouble moving Thomas, given Cleveland’s response to his hip injury. But the Cavaliers will get plenty of offers from teams looking to work out a deal for Irving. And in fact, ESPN’s Zach Lowe is already reporting that there could be one attractive trade option on the table.
According to Lowe, the Bucks have offered the Cavaliers a trade that would include reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and forward Khris Middleton in exchange for Irving. The potential trade could also include a first-round pick moving from Milwaukee to Cleveland to make it a bit more enticing for the Cavaliers. It doesn’t seem quite as strong as the Celtics’ offer, but it could prove to be the next best thing in the event that Cleveland and Boston can’t come to an agreement on the Thomas situation.