Isaiah Thomas Says Cavs ‘Were in Panic Mode’ When They Traded Him

Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard Isaiah Thomas has a simple explanation for the blockbuster February trade that resulted in him getting swapped for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.

“It’s a business,” Thomas told ESPN during an interview for the network’s E:60 program. “And the Cavs were, I mean, they were in panic mode. We were losing—a lot. And I think they felt like they needed to make a move, and they, they basically cleared house.”

Thomas and Channing Frye were shipped to the Lakers, while the Cavs acquired Rodney Hood and George Hill in a separate three-way deal with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings. The flurry of trades that saw the Cavs trade six players and a draft pick to bring in four new additions came shortly after the team posted a 6-12 record from Christmas through February 3.

A large portion of the blame fell on Thomas, who only logged 15 games with the Cavs after spending a significant portion of the season rehabbing from a hip injury. As the losses piled up, he reportedly called out Kevin Love, questioned his teammates’ effort, and implied the coaching staff failed to make adjustments. He also found himself on the wrong end of a hilarious meme.

“People don’t put in there that we had eight or nine new players,” Thomas added. “So it was basically a brand new team…I’m in a new system—new team, new coach, new players. And then I’ve been off for seven months. So I got to get—individually, I got to for the most part get my rhythm back, get my timing back.”

Much like Thomas, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman has since conceded that the 2017 trade that initially brought Thomas to Cleveland while shipping Kyrie Irving to Boston was a bust.

“Did it fit? Did it work? Probably not,” Altman told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com shortly after trading Thomas and Frye to Los Angeles. “So with those pieces, we decided to shuffle the deck and get younger and get some youthful talent with energy and enthusiasm.”

Thomas finished fifth in MVP voting after the 2016-2017 season, and many around the league believe he’ll use his time with the rebuilding Lakers as an audition for a larger contract.

“Hopefully I’m here long term, you know, with me being a free agent this summer,” Thomas said. “But if I’m not, these last 25 games I’m going to play my heart out and show the Lakers why I should be here long term.”

Thomas’ full E:60 interview is scheduled to air March 11.

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Guest Matt Barnes Pulls No Punches; Blake Ex Drama; Should Refs Get Ejected? | Out of Bounds

On today’s show, NBA bad boy Matt Barnes joins Gilbert Arenas and the #OutofBounds crew to discuss on- and off-court hoops action. Getting things started, Matt tells the back story of his infamous fake pass at Kobe’s face, which revealed Black Mamba to be as cold-blooded as they come. Next, the guys give their two cents on a lawsuit that Blake Griffin’s former fiancee filed on Valentine’s Day, dragging the five-time All-Star, who’s now dating model Kendall Jenner. The suit claims he’s a deadbeat dad who prioritizes Hollywood celebrity over family. Matt, who played with Blake, shares some observations and words of wisdom about bitter exes. In less ugly V-Day news, Giannis Antetokounmpo put his girlfriend on blast, showing off the sex toy she got him on IG live. The gang decides whether that was fair or foul, and Gil explains how he would make use of the thoughtful gift. Following the ejection of Isaiah Thomas and Rajon Rondo last night, for a skirmish reportedly fueled by shade Rondo threw at IT, the team says the real problem is the refs, and offers a suggestion for how the NBA should deal with bad, whistle-happy officials. Gil and Matt then put to rest the debate over whether or not Warriors coach Steve Kerr disrespected the Suns Monday by letting his players call their own plays. And finally, in “The Pull-Up,” the NBA vets advise the league on how it can fix the All-Star Game and the weekend generally. If the Association doesn’t finish with these great assists, it needs to be sent to the G League.

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Isaiah Thomas Explains Bizarre Altercation With Rajon Rondo

Isaiah Thomas and Rajon Rondo were involved in a bizarre altercation during a game on Wednesday night that ended with both players being ejected. After the game, Thomas claimed Rondo hit him in the face three times and taunted him about the tribute video the Celtics planned to put together for him this season.

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Isaiah Thomas Explains Why He Was Involved in Bizarre Altercation With Rajon Rondo

Isaiah Thomas has made headlines on numerous occasions over the course of the last week because of his reported beef with LeBron James and the Cavaliers. But on Wednesday night, Thomas set his sights on beefing with a different player—and it ended with him getting ejected from a game before it even reached the end of the first quarter.

Thomas and Rajon Rondo were both ejected from the Lakers/Pelicans game on Wednesday after they were involved in an altercation towards the end of the first frame. The two players got tangled up with one another several times and exchanged words before they were hit with double technical fouls and sent packing. It was an odd scene with Rondo seemingly trying to provoke Thomas while guarding him. You can watch it play out here.

Following the game, Thomas was asked about what happened between him and Rondo, and he claimed Rondo hit him in the face three times during the game before tensions boiled over. He also claimed Rondo repeatedly brought up the video tribute the Celtics planned for Thomas on the same night as Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement ceremony before eventually canceling it at Thomas’ request.

“Whatever reason, he's an upset guy about me,” Thomas said. “I don't know what it is, but it's fine. He kept bringing the tribute up, when I was the one that shut the tribute down. I'm far past that…For me to be ejected was uncalled for.”

Rondo didn’t speak with the media after the game on Wednesday night, but it’s worth noting that if he did taunt Thomas over the tribute, it wouldn’t come as a total surprise. Rondo was asked about the tribute after a game in January, and he spoke out against the Celtics deciding to do it in the first place.

“What has he done?” Rondo asked at the time, before being told about how Thomas led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and responding accordingly. “Oh, that’s what we celebrate around here?”

However, Thomas told reporters he wasn’t upset about what Rondo said when he was asked about those comments on Wednesday night.

“He said what he said, I laughed it off,” Thomas said. “It was what it was. I'm the one that stopped the video tribute from happening because I wanted Paul Pierce to have his full night. I didn't want to take nothing from him. I know [Rondo] played on Paul Pierce's team. He's gonna always have Paul Pierce's back, which is fine. I didn't lose sleep over it. It was obvious [that it] continued to be brought up with what happened tonight.”

Thomas also told reporters he doesn’t share any bad blood from the past with Rondo. He theorized Rondo might possibly be upset with him because Thomas and the Celtics beat Rondo and the Bulls in the playoffs last season, but he couldn't say for sure why Rondo seemed so irked at him.

“I mean, my team beat his team in the playoffs last year,” Thomas said. “Maybe that is what's wrong. I don't know. There's nothing. Nothing should've made that escalate like it did. He already had his agenda written down right when I checked into the game. It was obvious. He picked me up full court, trying to be physical.”

Whatever the case may be, Thomas seemed to shrug off the altercation with Rondo. But he said he does plan to try and appeal the technical fouls he received during the game. He thinks Rondo, not him, should be forced to deal with the consequences of them.

“It felt like they were waiting for me to get upset,” Thomas said, referencing the game’s officials. “I got hit in the face three times, and the third time I got hit in my face, I reacted and tried to tell the refs, 'Are you guys going to control this?' I definitely need to get those technical fouls rescinded.”

Thomas and Rondo weren’t the only ones to get ejected from the game. Lakers head coach Luke Walton got ejected just before halftime, too, for arguing with the game’s officials. The Pelicans went on to win 139-117.

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LeBron and the New-Look Cavs; Paul Pierce Greatest Celtic Scorer Ever? | Out of Bounds

After trading six players away and picking up four new ones at the NBA trade deadline, the Cavs look refreshed, focused, and happy for the first time in a long time. Gilbert Arenas and the #OutofBounds crew discuss why the subtraction of Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, and others has helped Cleveland, how far they’ll go, and whether or not LeBron and the Cavs organization shaded the departed players. With Robert Parish calling Paul Pierce the “greatest offensive Celtic ever” before Boston retired his No. 34 jersey on Sunday, the guys debate that controversial claim. Gil being Gil, he’s got a hot take that could get him banned from Boston. Next, following Eagles lineman Lane Johnson’s assertion that nobody enjoys playing on the Patriots because it’s a “fear-based organization,” the gang gets into the importance of having fun playing professionally in “The Pull-Up.” Finally, DeAndre’ Bembry’s recent arrest for driving 128 mph in a 55 mph zone sparks a conversation about why athletes, who have so much to lose, are still racing down the street like some maniacs, and Gil shares a story about the time he and Jason Richardson raced Escalades in LA.

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Atlanta Hawks Fans Yell Savage Chant to Cavs: ‘LeBron Will Leave You’

Atlanta Hawks fans are ruthless. During last night's game, the Hawks crowd taunted the Cleveland Cavaliers by chanting “LeBron will leave you” and “LeBron will trade you.”

Of course, the taunts come after Cleveland basically became a new team at the trade deadline. The Cavaliers gave Iman Shumpert to the Sacramento Kings; Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to the Jazz; Dwyane Wade back to the Miami Heat; and Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Lakers. In exchange, they got George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson, and Rodney Hood on their squad. Tristan Thompson and Jeff Green managed to stick around, though, and Atlanta made sure to give them crap for it.

After last night's game, James explained the decision process behind the multiple trades.

“It's not about what the other guys didn't bring or what these guys bring,” said James at the press conference, according to ESPN. “We're all professionals, and we were happy with the guys that we had, and we're going to [be] happy with the guys that we have now. That's the way the league is, it's a business. There's no shade on anybody.”

The Cavaliers are spending February trying to get back on track after crawling their way out of the Finals conversation last month. At the very least, they're better than Atlanta: The Cavaliers handily beat the Hawks, 123-107.

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This Was Kyrie Irving’s Reaction to the Cavaliers’ Massive Roster Overhaul

Most people expected the Cavaliers to shake things up at the NBA trade deadline on Thursday and make one or two moves to improve their roster as they prepare to head into the second half of the 2017-18 NBA season. But most people didn’t expect them to go as far as they did.

Just hours before the trade deadline, the Cavaliers orchestrated a series of moves that saw them trade away Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose, and Jae Crowder—in addition to a couple draft picks—in exchange for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, George Hill, and Rodney Hood. Cleveland will have a completely different lineup when they take the court to play against the Hawks on Friday night, and they’re hoping it will help them get out of the rut they’ve been stuck in for most of the last month.

In the aftermath of all the action involving the Cavaliers at the trade deadline, there were quite a few people who wondered what Kyrie Irving’s reaction to the whole thing must have been. The Cavaliers essentially parted way with the two players (Thomas and Crowder) they got in exchange for him last summer. They also looked like a team desperate to improve their current situation in a hurry. So many speculated about what Irving’s response to the whole thing would be and used memes to make their best guesses.

But what was Irving’s real reaction? As it turns out, a whole lot less exciting than the memes might have suggested. On Thursday night, Irving scored 28 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists in a 110-104 Celtics’ overtime win over the Wizards.

And after the game, he was asked to provide a response to the trades the Cavaliers pulled off earlier in the day. Irving took a few seconds to collect his thoughts and looked like he might have something to say about them. But then, he hit reporters with a slight shrug before matter-of-factly saying, “I’m in Boston.”

We doubt those are Irving’s only thoughts on the situation. But for now, that’s the only reaction he has. Stay tuned to see if he has more to say after LeBron James and the Cavaliers play Irving and the Celtics on Sunday afternoon.

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On today’s show, special guest Kenyon Martin joins Gil and the #OutofBounds gang to talk the day’s biggest sports stories. The convo kicks off with the looming NBA trade deadline and how trades affect team chemistry. Next, the crew discusses the three-year extension Sixth Man of the Year candidate Lou Williams just signed with the Clippers. Did he sell himself short in seeking stability and security? With late breaking news that the Cavs are trading Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and their protected first-round pick in 2018 to the Lakers for Larry Nance, Jr. and Jordan Clarkson, our “In Play” look at Cleveland’s big nationally-televised Sunday matchup in Boston — when the Celtics will retire Paul Pierce’s jersey — is extra spicy. Adam and Pierce break down the impact that the trade will have on both teams, as well as how it will affect the big game. Finally, following a report that Rob Gronkowski could retire from football to become a Hollywood action star, the team weighs in on how good he’d be, and also makes picks for athletes who would be great flexing muscles on the big screen.

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The Cavaliers and Lakers Just Pulled Off a Blockbuster Trade Involving Isaiah Thomas

Things never seemed quite right with Isaiah Thomas in Cleveland. Now, less than six months after the Cavaliers acquired Thomas in a massive deal with the Boston Celtics for Kyrie Irving, Cleveland has flipped the veteran guard in another blockbuster trade.

News of the trade broke Thursday on Twitter, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski sharing details of the swap.

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne added that the Lakers plan to hold on to both former Cavaliers players.

All we can say is: WOW. We're sure there's much more to come on this deal.

The bottom line is, the Cavs had to make a move of some kind. Things were falling apart, and they're intent on making a fourth-straight NBA Finals run in what could be LeBron James' final season in The Land. It's likely LeBron had some type of say in this deal.

It will be fascinating to see how this move affects Cleveland's on- and off-court success in the second half of the NBA season. The Cavs are currently in third in the East, behind the Celtics and Raptors.

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LeBron James Addresses Trade Rumors Following Disheartening Loss to Magic

The Cavaliers’ 2017-18 NBA season is in a tailspin. For whatever reason, Cleveland just can’t string together a series of wins and get themselves back on track right now. But have things gotten so bad that LeBron James would waive his no-trade clause and voluntarily allow the team to send him packing prior to the NBA trade deadline on Thursday?

Believe it or not, that was actually a source of speculation on Tuesday, as Yahoo! Sports reporter Shams Charania reported there were some NBA teams doing their “due diligence” and watching to see if LeBron would potentially waive the no-trade clause he has in his contract. There are more than a few teams who would obviously be willing to mortgage their franchise’s future for a chance to land LeBron in a deal. And even though Charania reported LeBron was unlikely to let the Cavaliers trade him, it didn’t stop some people from gossiping about what might happen if LeBron did away with his no-trade clause.

The gossiping got a little bit louder on Tuesday night after the Cavaliers went out and blew a 21-point lead to the Magic to lose 116-98. The Magic have the worst record in the Eastern Conference, so the loss was particularly stunning for the skidding Cavaliers. But despite his team’s struggles, LeBron faced the latest report about his no-trade clause head-on and said he is not planning on going anywhere before the trade deadline. He insisted he will remain a Cavalier for at least the remainder of this season.

“I’m here for the long haul,” LeBron said. “I’m here for this season right now, [to] try to figure out ways we can still compete. I couldn’t give up on my teammates like that. I couldn’t do that. I just couldn’t do it. We put too much into the game every single day. We go out and prepare. Win, lose, or draw, at the end of the day, we’re all brothers, and we understand that. I owe it to my teammates to finish this season out no matter how it ends up. I would never waive my no-trade clause.”

LeBron was clearly trying to keep his spirits up following another tough loss, but some of his teammates were having trouble doing the same. One Cavaliers player told ESPN.com the team hit “a new low” during their game against the Magic. Isaiah Thomas, meanwhile, tried to explain the Cavaliers’ troubles by suggesting they’re not demonstrating the brotherhood LeBron talked about while speaking with reporters.

“Right now, when we hit adversity, we go our separate ways,” Thomas said. “And that’s just how I feel, and it looks like that as well. Guys start to go one-on-one on offense, and the defense is every man for himself. The first half we played good, everybody was happy. It was energized, helping each other on the defensive end. Sharing the ball. The ball was moving side to side on offense. And then we revert back to what makes us lose games.”

The somewhat amazing thing about all of this is that, despite the Cavaliers’ inability to win many ballgames at the top of 2018, Cleveland is still sitting in third in the Eastern Conference. So they’re just one hot streak away from putting themselves right back into prime position in the East. But the fact that we’ve reached the point where the idea of LeBron waiving his no-trade clause doesn’t sound that crazy should tell you everything you need to know about where the Cavaliers are at the moment. They need to figure out a way to turn things around quickly—or LeBron’s days in Cleveland could really be numbered.

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