Looking at how big of a steal Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder are
Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder made a name for themselves once they got traded to the Boston Celtics. Thomas was a high-energy point guard still trying to stand out in a plethora of guards in Phoenix, and Crowder was battling for minutes on the Dallas Mavericks. Then, something clicked in Boston.
Thomas became an All-Star in his first full season with Boston, Crowder has become one of the better two-way players in the league – bordering on stardom – and Boston won 48 games last season. This is exactly what Danny Ainge envisioned when he decided that these two would be huge parts of the Celtics’ rebuild.
After agreeing on a five-year, $35 million deal before the start of the season with Jae Crowder, the Celtics own two of the best contracts in the NBA. Thomas and Crowder are each making less than $7 million in each of the next two seasons. Sure, after the 2017-18 season the Celtics will have to take out their checkbook with Avery Bradley and Thomas both being free agents, but, until then, they can continue admiring the work of Ainge, once again.
With Crowder locked up through 2019-20, he owns arguably the most valuable contract in the NBA, especially with all the money that is being thrown around after the new TV deal. With Thomas and Crowder set to make $12.8 million combined this season and $13 million next season – $25.8 million combined over the next two seasons – how big of a steal have these two become?
With Al Horford and Mike Conley both making a crazy $26.5 million this upcoming season, the Celtics will be paying two of their most valuable players less than their star signing and a point guard that Thomas is better than. Dirk Nowitzki is the only other player making $25 million in 2016-17 but the cap is going to raise again next season, therefore, a couple more players should be above the $25.8 million mark Crowder and Thomas sit at.
When looking at the $12.8 million they’ll make this upcoming season, the combined salary of Thomas and Crowder is set to own the 63rd highest salary in the NBA. Notable players ahead of them include Goran Dragic, Ian Mahinmi, Jeff Green, Timofey Mozgov, Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe.
There are also 13 point guards and 14 small forwards getting paid higher than the $12.8 million Thomas and Crowder are bringing in together. Also, Brandon Knight is making just $0.2 million less than the Celtics duo. Those are both ridiculous amounts for a player who is an All-Star and one who has the potential to become one in the near future.
Individually, Thomas is the 132nd highest paid player in the NBA and Crowder is the 141st highest. The top overall pick Ben Simmons, who has yet to play an NBA minute, is slotted just 10 spots lower than Crowder as he’s set to make $5.9 million as a rookie. For as much potential as Simmons holds, it’s crazy to think that Crowder, a proven two-way player, is barely making more than someone who has yet to play in the NBA.
If all that isn’t enough, think about how many point guards you would take over Isaiah Thomas and how many small forwards you would take over Jae Crowder. Maybe they’re near the end of your top-10 or just below it, however, wherever you put them it doesn’t compare to what the Celtics are paying them.
30 – yes, the amount of NBA teams there are – point guards are making more than Isaiah Thomas next season. The guard who was named to the All-Star team last season as recognition for being one of the best players, let alone point guards, in the NBA is making less than multiple backups at the position. Also, there are 24 small forwards making more than Jae Crowder.
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When signing the contracts this is what each of them were worth. Crowder had only averaged at least 20 minutes per game during a season once – for 25 games he only saw 10.6 minutes per game with Dallas though. Thomas was just a score-first guard off the bench who Boston felt might have a chance to develop into a starter one day. Therefore, the amount of money they commanded made sense, but, in hindsight, Danny Ainge once again looks like a genius for being able to pull of these deals.
Now, with just two-years left with both of these amazing contracts intact, it’s no surprise that Boston is going all-in over these next couple of seasons. They have arguably the most flexibility out of potential playoff teams, as Danny Ainge’s wizardry is once again on full display.
Although, with that being said, there’s no doubt Boston will have to pay Thomas in a couple of years. This offseason he told CSNNE, “They better bring out the Brinks truck. Everybody is getting paid, I gotta get something.”
Boston knows what’s in store in the near future, and while they won’t sign Thomas to the same incredible deal he’s on right now, Ainge is deserving of a standing ovation for his construction of this team. Now that everything has unfolded, he couldn’t have formed a better financially and skillful duo.