I remember the day the Celtics traded for Isaiah. I was driving home from class after bombing an exam, turned on the radio and heard that the Celtics had acquired Isaiah from Phoenix in exchange for Marcus Thornton and the Cleveland 2016 1st round pick. At the time I was hoping for the blockbuster trade that each of us desire every year, so after bombing the exam and hearing that the Celtics traded for what I thought was just a role-player at the time, you can say I was not too thrilled. My cousin texted me something like Isaiah, good move. I like it. I responded with something along the lines of Don’t really care.
But once I was home I sat down to read more about the trade. I soon forgot about the now unimportant exam and became really excited to have Isaiah in Boston. Let me just say that I have never been a fan of small basketball players. Historically a lot of them are just inefficient flashy players that fans love because it is like David versus Goliath. It is very difficult for a player to succeed in this league if under 6 feet, which is why you do not see many guys that size playing anymore. But after looking at Isaiah’s numbers I could see there was something different.
He played very well in his few years in Sacramento, posting average to above-average numbers in his time there. Phoenix acquired him in a sign and trade with Sacramento in the ’14-’15 off season with a contract valued at $27 million for four years. At the time it seemed like a good amount of money for a small 6th man/role player. The salary cap in ’14-’15 was only $63 million, so he was eating up roughly 11% of the cap. Everybody knew that the salary cap was going to jump tremendously over the next few years, so Danny Ainge took a calculated risk when he traded for Isaiah. This turned out to be a better move than any of us could have ever imagined. Which brings me to the point of this post
Isaiah Thomas has the Most Valuable Contract in the NBA
I should rephrase this to Most Valuable Non-Rookie Contract in the NBA because you have guys like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins making less than Isaiah. But when you think about it, Isaiah Thomas has a ridiculous performance:salary ratio. I have taken the top five scorers in the NBA and put them into a table. Listed are their PPG (Points Per Game), PER (Player Efficiency Rating), and their 2016-2017 Salary. Spoiler: Isaiah is making nothing.
Top five in PPG. Top 10 in PER. 139th in ’16-’17 salary. 138 NBA players are making more money than Isaiah Thomas is this year. Now, for the best part. Isaiah Thomas is going to make LESS MONEY next year. The four-year, $27 million contract he signed was front loaded, so he is taking a $325,737 pay cut next year.
So what should the Celtics do? Should they hold onto Isaiah through next year, then extend him at what I am assuming will be max money? Is he worth 30% of the cap (estimated $32. 4 million salary in the first year)? Would Isaiah take a hometown discount since he loves this city? Should they package him in a deal that could bring us a superstar? Comment below and let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading. If you did not see my latest post about a trade I would like the Celtics to pursue, check it out here.