LAS VEGAS – Even before he was named to his first All-Star team in February, the Boston Celtics and most of the NBA for that matter saw Isaiah Thomas as one of the best bargains out there.
Now that the salary cap has increased, Thomas’ contract is a steal in every sense of the word with the value of his contract actually decreasing in each of his final two seasons (he’s due $6.6 million for 2016-2017 and $6.2 million for 2017-2018).
Knowing he has a couple years remaining, Thomas said he definitely plans to cash in – literally – when he hits free agency in the summer of 2018.
“They better bring out the Brinks truck,” quipped Thomas during the Celtics’ summer league game on Saturday against Chicago. “They’re paying everybody else. I gotta get something.”
Indeed, Thomas has seen teammates come and go this summer due to contracts unlike anything the NBA has seen before. Former Celtic Evan Turner, a Sixth Man of the year candidate a year ago, signed a four-year, $70 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Meanwhile, Boston added Al Horford who had spent his first nine NBA seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. The Celtics inked him to a four-year, $113 million contract.
Thomas signed his current deal, a four-year, $27 million contract, back in 2014. If he were a free agent now, Thomas could potentially have landed a deal paying something close to that … per season.
Of course the ginormous salaries being handed out now are fueled by the extremely lucrative national TV deals signed by the NBA, which has raised the salary cap pass the $95 million plateau.
And a year from now, the league’s salary cap is expected to increase again.
“I’m trying not to worry about it,” Thomas said. “It’s out there. “I’m just being myself and play and hopefully that takes care of everything else.”
A. Sherrod Blakely can be followed on Twitter: @SherrodbCSN