NBA free agency got off to a running start Tuesday morning as teams were able to begin contacting free agents at 12:01 a.m. ET.
One of the first calls Celtics’ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made, according to multiple reports was to Sacramento Kings’ point guard Isaiah Thomas.
The Boston Celtics were first team to call restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas when free agency started, per source. Danny Ainge called.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 1, 2014
League source confirms @AlexKennedyNBA report that Boston has contacted reps for Isaiah Thomas.
— Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) July 1, 2014
Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game for the Kings last year, making him one of the top backcourt players on the market this summer. He is also a restricted free agent, meaning the Kings will have the right to match any offer he receives in free agency.
The Celtics don’t have any salary cap room at the moment beyond their midlevel exception worth about $5.5 million dollars. That fact would appear to place Thomas outside of Boston’s price range, barring a sign-and-trade agreement with the Kings.
This development combined with the fact that the Celtics also drafted combo guard Marcus Smart last week, has raised more questions about Rajon Rondo’s future with Boston in NBA circles. Sacramento has reportedly had interest in trading for Rondo over the last year.
The Celtics reached out to Isaiah Thomas tonight. Interesting, the Kings and Celtics had recently been in talks on Rajon Rondo deal.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 1, 2014
Ainge told Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe yesterday that he hadn’t yet contacted Rondo since last week’s draft and that he wasn’t sure about whether teams around the league would step up their pursuit of Boston’s starting point guard.
“I don’t know. I don’t think so,” he said. “If people like someone, they call. The circumstances may change, but it doesn’t matter. I’m expecting Rondo to have the best year of his career this year. He’s been here most days the month of June. He looks great physically. I just think he’s in a really good place, and I know he loves Boston. I also know that it’s a big challenge for him and he’s looking forward to free agency, but I expect for all those reasons that he’ll have a good year this year.”
It’s early in the free agency process, but this is a situation we will monitor closely in the coming days. It could have a dramatic effect on Boston’s future backcourt.