The big money offered by the NBA is really going to Isaiah Thomas’ head too much that his actions about it rub off to some of his co-leagues in the NBA the wrong way.
To recall, Thomas is the NBA journeyman who is seeking for a big contract after leading the Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals last year. His contract is up this year and he is doing everything to show he deserved a huge raise in his next.
Thing is, he seems to be putting this personal objective ahead of his team’s mission.
To which the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lebron James would have none of it. They jettisoned him after playing in only 15 games since acquiring him from a trade in the off-season.
Add New Orleans Pelican Point Guard Rajon Rondo to the list of his hardest critics.
When the Los Angeles Lakers, Thomas’ new team, met the Pelicans last Wednesday, Rondo went hard after Thomas on the hardcourt as if to show he can do more than Thomas.
This resulted to some talkback, pushing and shoving between the two, resulting to both their ejection from the game, eventually.
It was unclear what initiated the ejection but Thomas was quoted in post-game interviews that Rondo kept on bringing back the failed video tribute of the Boston Celtics to Thomas.
In my estimation, Rondo feels slighted that Thomas had to decline the video tribute offered to Him the first time because he is not playing and his family is not with him. He even wants it on the night the Celtics will be honoring one of the greatest Celtics of all-time, Paul Pierce.
Maybe Rondo feels Thomas has not done enough in Boston to get one. Maybe he feels he wasn’t treated the way they are doing it to Thomas despite his contributions to the Celtics. Maybe it is just jealousy.
To be fair, Rondo did a lot of special things in Boston. Who could forget the image of him running after Orlando’s Jason Williams for a diving blind-sided steal and subsequently standing for a lay-up during the 2010 Eastern Conference finals.
The reasons why Thomas was a lot more loved in his time in Boston than Rondo is for another day.
For me, the bottom line in their ejection is Thomas’ putting too much emphasis on building up his personal brand even to the extent of shaming his team’s winning aspirations.
I believe the reason the Celtics traded Thomas is his unwavering desire to become the main man of the Celtics and his uncompromising attitude about it. He said he wants Boston to back-up the “brinks truck” and never changed his stance.
Danny Ainge also knew building around Thomas would make the Celtics’ chances of getting another championship slim to none. So he shipped him once the opportunity came.
It is a fact that building a championship team around a 5’9” guy is very difficult. The perfect complementary pieces should be available and they may have to perform at near perfection all the time to hide their main guy’s weaknesses brought about by his size deficiency.
A lot of things have to be going near perfect and lady luck should be shinning all the time for this team to get a championship.
There’s a reason the team where Shaquille O’neal was often goes deep in the playoffs while those where Allen Iverson was doesn’t. It isn’t an accident that Iverson had big man and defensive specialist Dikembe Mutombo with him when reached his only finals appearance.
LA Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, a monster in the paint who can’t shoot and bricks free throws, is certain be more of an asset to a team than Thomas will ever be in most cases.
Of course, Jordan’s going to get paid more than him. (Thomas earns around $6.2M this year of the $27M, four-year deal he signed last 2014 while Jordan will earn around $22.6M of the $87.6M four-year deal he signed in 2015, according to spotrac.com.)
This is despite the fact that Thomas got the Celtics to the playoffs, including an Eastern Conference finals appearance in the past three years as undoubtedly the main guy while Jordan was just part of the Chris Paul, Blake Griffin Clipper triumvirate that barely got in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs just once during the same three-year span.
It is just what it is. Height will always be might in Basketball, even in this era of small ball.
Isaiah Thomas will have to accept he needs teammates to work with if teams will build around him and have a shot at a championship. Not just ordinary teammates. Teammates that will also have to get paid just like him.
He might have to think and talk about sharing the bucks.
BY: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS.