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Celtics Land Isaiah Thomas, Lose Jared Sullinger To Injury
It was a good news/bad news Thursday for the Boston Celtics when it comes to their immediate future but certainly a good day overall concerning the team's future.
On the positive side, Boston surprisingly was a buyer at the trade deadline, acquiring Phoenix Suns point guard Isaiah Thomas for a son. Boston acquired Thomas in exchange for Marcus Thornton and the Cleveland Cavaliers' 2016 first-round draft pick. Thomas is on a great contract, having signed a modest four-year, $27 million contract this past summer that decreases in value each season.
He gives the Celtics a small point guard who becomes the team's best penetrator. Thomas can create off the dribble and provide a scoring punch, mixing into what will be a three-guard rotation with rookie Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley. The high-scoring Thomas wants a chance to play major minutes and the green light to score. His biggest issue during his career is being a one-dimensional player.
The Celtics showed interest in the 5-foot-9 point Thomas this summer, before he signed with the Suns in free agency. The 26-year-old is averaging 15.2 points in 46 games for the Suns. Thomas is in his fourth NBA year after spending his first three in Sacramento. The first-round pick the Celtics will be sending out in the deal is a 2016 top-10 protected pick from the Cavaliers. It will likely fall in the 20's.
Boston also traded Tayshaun Prince to Detroit on Thursday for Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome, two guys with no future for the C's.
As for the bad news, Boston's current best player, forward Jared Sullinger, has suffered a stress reaction to the fourth metatarsal of his left foot and will be sidelined for the foreseeable future. Sullinger reportedly practiced Wednesday, believing the injury was only a sprain, but showed up to Friday’s session at Sleep Train Arena in a walking boot. Wednesday’s practice was the Celtics’ first since the team reconvened after the All-Star break.
The third-year big man is Boston’s leading scorer (14.4 points per game) and rebounder (8.1), and had rebounded right before the break after struggling in late January and early February. Sullinger’s absence will make things difficult for the Celtics on Friday against the Kings as they already will be without Thornton and Prince and the injured Kelly Olynyk (ankle). It’s highly unlikely point guard Thomas will join the team in time.
Friday's game is the Kings coaching debut of George Karl, who was hired during the All-Star Break to replace Sacramento interim coach Tyrone Corbin. Boston beat the Kings on New Year's Eve 101-84. Evan Turner handed out a career-high 11 assists to go along with 10 points, six rebounds and three steals. Sullinger also recorded a double-double with a game-high 20 points to go along with 11 rebounds and three blocks. Olynyk had 15 points while Jae Crowder scored 12 points to go along with four rebounds. The Kings were led by Carl Landry and Darren Collison who each netted 14 points while DeMarcus Cousins added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Collison is questionable for the game.
Boston is a 3-point underdog at Sportsbook.ag for Friday's game. The Celtics are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings in Sacramento.
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