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As rumors continue to swirl about a Cleveland Cavaliers shakeup at the trade deadline and reports indicate LeBron James isn’t happy with the team’s return in the Kyrie Irving trade, questions about whether the Cavs will deal the struggling Isaiah Thomas and his expiring contract are growing louder.
There’s at least one person in Cleveland who doesn’t want to see him go: Isaiah Thomas.
“I don’t [want to be traded],” Thomas said after Wednesday’s 140-138 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to ESPN. “I’m tired of being traded. That’s not a good thing, but I just want to be where I’m wanted. I like it here. It hasn’t been as planned, but I definitely want to be here. We definitely have a real chance to win an NBA championship, and I want to be a part of that.”
Thomas is shooting just 36.1 percent from the field and 25.3 percent from 3-point range since returning from a seven-month absence due to a hip injury, and you can almost see LeBron’s eyes roll back in his head after every defensive breakdown by Thomas. The Cavaliers are 8-8 with him in the lineup, allowing an abysmal 118.6 points per 100 possessions with Thomas on the floor this season.
Big win for Cavs, but I can’t stop watching how utterly disgusted LeBron is with Isaiah after every pick-and-roll defensive breakdown pic.twitter.com/6acM2pLSL0
— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) February 8, 2018
Thomas was reportedly a leading voice in the team meeting that featured finger-pointing all around, especially in the direction of since-injured star forward Kevin Love, who responded by treating the diminutive point guard like a child. More recently, Thomas criticized Cleveland’s coaching staff for failing to make adjustments — to which Cavs coach Tyronn Lue flat-out responded, “That’s not true.”
Meanwhile, anonymously sourced reports suggested that James is still stewing about the fact that the Cavaliers didn’t deal Irving for Paul George and Eric Bledsoe or keep him rather than deal for Thomas.
Let’s just say Thomas isn’t the most popular player in Cleveland right now, as evidenced by the number of times he’s been booed at Quicken Loans Arena in recent weeks. It seems unlikely that the Cavs would meet Thomas’ contract demands in free agency this summer, and his expiring contract would help them match salaries in any potential roster-improving trade at Thursday’s deadline.
It’s understandably why the Cavaliers would want to move on from Thomas. It’s also understandable why he would not want to be dealt again. He was signed and traded from the Sacramento Kings to the Phoenix Suns in 2014, and then traded months later to the Boston Celtics, where he rose to stardom on an Eastern Conference contender, before being unceremoniously dealt to Cleveland in August.
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