Cavaliers reportedly looking for further compensation from Celtics to complete trade – Washington Post

 In Sports

Kyrie Irving, left, and Isaiah Thomas may not be switching jerseys after all. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The pending mega-trade between the Cavaliers and Celtics may be on the ropes after a report that Cleveland plans to seek additional compensation before officially sending all-star point guard Kyrie Irving to Boston.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavs are concerned enough about the status of Isaiah Thomas’s injured hip after giving him a physical on Friday that they will look to land another asset in addition to Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and an unprotected 2018 first-round pick that the Celtics acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in 2013. Wojnarowski reports that Cleveland “could threaten to veto the trade” without revisions to the initial agreement, and “the Cavaliers’ stance could trigger a standoff between Cleveland and Boston officials, forcing both organizations to weigh the consequences of letting the blockbuster trade implode.”

The intriguing, and for the two teams involved, intensely awkward, possibility was first raised Friday by Wojnarowski. He reported that Thomas had undergone his physical examination by the Cavs, after which the team was “still evaluating” the injury and “weighing options” regarding the completion of the Irving trade.

As Wojnarowski noted, “All players must pass [a] physical, or a deal can be voided.” He added that a “source involved in the process involving Thomas’s medical clearance” told ESPN, “It’s a very sensitive situation.”

That would be an understatement, given the difficulties of potentially having to reincorporate Thomas and Irving to their original teams. Irving had requested a trade away from Cleveland, which would presumably have to find another trade partner or work out a different deal with Boston.

Thomas was the key to that deal, as his status as a high-scoring point guard made him a near-ideal replacement for Irving, one who promised to help James contend for another appearance in the NBA Finals. If the deal falls through, a disenchanted Thomas might well lodge his own trade demand with the Celtics, whom he led to the Eastern Conference finals last season.

Thomas was forced out of that series, in which the Celtics fell to the Cavs, after re-aggravating a hip injury he’d suffered earlier in the season. Boston General Manager Danny Ainge said this week that the lingering effects of the injury played “some” role in his decision to make the trade for Irving.

Ainge reportedly said that Thomas might not be ready to start the season, but Wojnarowski subsequently reported that the Cavs had “no short-term concerns” about the guard’s health. He added, though, earlier this week that while Boston believed “rest and rehab would return Thomas’s hip to a full recovery,” Cleveland was “anxious to give him [a] physical.”

On Friday, Wojnarowski said on ESPN that if the Cavs decided that Thomas’s hip was a major problem, they might still try to make the deal but ask for an additional draft pick. According to the reporter, Cleveland was most excited about receiving that Nets selection, which has no protections on it, in the trade, and the Celtics are armed with several other high-value picks over the next few drafts.

Assuming some version of the trade does happen, and even if Thomas ultimately proves healthy and productive, it still would not prevent James from bolting the Cavs after this season, according to unnamed NBA executives who spoke with Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher. “I don’t see him staying in Cleveland,” one told Bucher, while another said, “He’s out.”

A third executive, described as an “Eastern Conference general manager,” said it was a “foregone conclusion” that James would opt out of his contract in 2018 and leave Cleveland. The Cavs’ reported interest in gaining draft picks could be an indication that they, too, are planning for a post-James future. From Bucher’s report:

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