When you have a chance to trade for a 25-year-old superstar like Kyrie Irving, you have to take it, which is exactly what the Boston Celtics did earlier this offseason, sending Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, a 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in return.
However, concerns about Thomas's hip injury may have also played a big role in the trade, as the star point guard is recovering from a torn labrum.
Now, there's some question as to whether the injury is even more severe than originally thought, which would be bad news for the Cavaliers and Thomas.
According to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, a source has told him there's some concern as to whether Thomas's hip will ever properly heal:
“No one has any idea how quickly this will heal or if it even will heal at all,” the source said. “It’s hard to predict.”
The source goes on to say there might be more going on than just a torn labrum:
"One source with direct knowledge of Thomas’ hip condition told The Athletic last week that he is dealing with more than just a tear," the report reads. "Some of those secondary issues in the hip he has played with for years now, such as a loss of cartilage and some arthritis, are complicating his healing process."
For a team trying to convince superstar forward LeBron James to stay in Cleveland beyond this season, having Thomas healthy and on the court is a big part of that plan.
During IT's introductory press conference last week, new Cleveland general manager Koby Altman only wanted to discuss Thomas's skill set, not his injury history or recovery timetable:
“If you want to talk about Isaiah, let’s talk about Isaiah as an All-Star. Let’s talk about Isaiah, the guy who averaged 29 points a game last year,” Altman said. “Let’s talk about him as a leader and what he’s going to bring to this franchise, in terms of his performance on the court when we get him back.”
Yes, it's fair for Altman to want to talk about the possibility of Thomas taking the court, but it's also foolish to ignore the fact that IT is facing a significant injury, from which a full comeback is no guarantee.
It seems the Cavaliers are willing to brush those concerns aside as they prepare for the 2017-18 season.
When and if he's able to play this season remains to be seen, but Cleveland fans will be anxiously holding their breath as they await his debut in a Cavs uniform.