A year after Isaiah Thomas was expecting a ‘Brinks truck,’ he is taking a minimum-salary contract in one of the most dramatic falls in recent NBA history. The 2 time All-star who had an MVP level season last year, averaging 29 PTS, has just agreed to a 1-year Vet’s minimum salary with the Denver Nuggets.
Isaiah’s downfall is the price he’s paying for being loyal. During the 3rd quarter of the Celtics March 15 game against Minnesota in 2017, Isaiah injured his hips when Karl Anthony Towns landed on him after a layup. Isaiah decided to play through his injury in the playoffs and even took the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals, aggravating his injury in the process. Celtics Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian McKeon said,
“Isaiah has worked tirelessly to manage this injury since it first occurred. The swelling increased during the first two games against Cleveland, and in order to avoid more significant long-term damage to his hip, we could no longer allow him to continue.”
Isaiah even played the 2017 playoffs first game against the Bulls, a day after his sister’s death, only to get traded by the Celtics later that year. After Thomas was traded, Caron Butler and Ray Allen took to Instagram to call out perceived hypocrisy:
“When players aren’t “loyal” to their teams there’s outrage, but there’s no similar reaction when, say, a team trades a player who played in a game two days after his sister passed away while recovering from dental surgeries and battling a painful hip injury.”
Up until yesterday, I wasn’t sure if Chris Paul’s decision on sitting out against the Warriors, in what was the most important game of his Career was unerring or not, but now I know for sure, Paul could not have been more veracious with his decision. Paul, who got hurt late in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals earlier this year, missed the Game 6 of the Finals owing to an hamstring injury and decided to opt out of Game 7.
Paul who was entering free-agency this off-season, was looking for that max deal and hence did not want to risk his chances. Even though his decision cost the Rockets the NBA Finals not to mention the Championship, the franchise valued what Paul brought to the table & was bent on signing Paul as they offered him a 4 year $160 Million max earlier this month. Had Isaiah pulled a Chris Paul, he could have had himself a max contract from any of the 29 teams, if not the Celtics.
Kevin Durant’s choice to leave the Thunder for the 73-win Warriors birthed the My Next Chapter Meme and a perception that he took the easy way out. When Durant went on The Bill Simmons Podcast in August 2016, he had this to say:
“Guys have been getting traded in their sleep for years. Guys have been getting the shitty end of the stick for years. I mean, some guys have been fucking over organizations, too. It’s no loyalty. It’s business. There’s money involved.”
Disloyalty is a two-way street in the NBA, where both teams and the players are licensed to drive. Teams stab players in the back all the time. Players do the same. That’s business ; That’s Life.