It's as if the Orlando Magic ditched Isaiah Thomas at the altar...
He wanted the marriage.
Apparently, the team did not.
Ought to be interesting once Thomas publicly addresses that situation.
Welcome to the Orlando Sports Weekly Rundown, I’m David Baumann.
Feel free to debate the semantics of whether or not the Magic and Thomas entered into formal “negotiations”.
Sure seems to me that if the medical information was being shared, then those talks should be considered -- at the very least -- serious discussions.
The ultimate result of those talks ended in both parties going their separate ways.
So let's review the timetable of events, shall we?
On July 2 -- the second day of the NBA free agency period -- it became clear that the 29-year-old Thomas was intrigued by Magic.
A Magic fan alerted me that Thomas began following the team on Twitter (the only other teams he followed were the Suns and Lakers -- two teams he had played for in the past)...
And speculation grew...
On July 3, Hoopshype's well-connected Alex Kennedy had this report:
"Isaiah Thomas and the Orlando Magic are negotiating a possible deal, according to league sources. Nothing has been agreed to yet, but it seems both sides want to get this done."
Fans could easily sense the growing connection between Thomas and the Magic.
An eventual signing seemed inevitable.
It just made a lot of sense.
The team was in desperate need of a starting point guard…
And Thomas, when healthy, is one of the elite point guards in the entire league.
In fact, it was only one year ago that he finished 5th in the NBA’s MVP vote.
And the Orlando Magic had the cap room to sign Thomas to a short-term deal.
But it wasn't just fans who were getting excited...
Players were too!
Magic forward Aaron Gordon, who just re-signed with the Magic to a 4-year, $82M contract, went on ESPN 580 Friday, July 6th and said this about Isaiah Thomas:
“I’m hopeful. Very hopeful he comes to Orlando. Certified bucket-getter. He’s a helluva competitor and that spirit needs to be brought to Orlando... Very hopeful that he comes.”
But when the NBA’s moratorium period ended that same day -- the day teams could officially announce new deals with players -- there was no announcement of a deal.
It was an odd silence.
And almost any time a buzz goes silent after a reported meeting between a player and a franchise, it doesn't end well.
On Saturday, July 7th, longtime Magic broadcaster Scott Anez reported:
"Update on Isaiah Thomas. Things are going from warm to cold. Magic have done extensive intel on the hip and don’t like what they see. From what I gather there are red flags galore medically. If the hip isn’t right doesn’t make sense signing him for a year."
Later that night, the Magic made a trade for a point guard.
They sent center Bismack Biyombo in a three-team trade to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Chicago Bulls point guard Jerian Grant and Charlotte Hornets center Timofey Mozgov.
The 25-year-old Grant is the nephew of former Magic forward Horace Grant. He's averaged 6.6 points per game and 3 assists per game over his three NBA seasons.
He has a chance to improve quite a bit, but he's a project. Mozgov is a total stiff whose bloated contract is only slightly less awful than Biyombo's.
And with that, the hope of landing the two-time NBA All-Star Thomas disappeared.
So here are a couple of unanswered questions that I'd like to get the answers to...
1. Was it truly a medical red flag or could the two sides not come to an agreement on terms of a deal?
2. When you're six miserable years into a rebuild process, why not take a calculated risk anyway on a player, who, when healthy, is a premier scorer.
If Thomas has medical issues that prevent him from being great again, then that's just a sad story (like the Magic experienced with once-great players like Grant Hill and Gilbert Arenas). I hope that's not the case.
But if Thomas gets back to even 85% of what he was in Boston, then the Magic whiffed on a great opportunity.
Everyone loves a great comeback story.
Instead of being a perennial punching bag, the Magic could've gotten some great national publicity as the place Isaiah Thomas resurrected his career.
And Thomas may have realized that the City of Orlando would've built him a statue if he turned the franchise around and decided to stick around long-term.
But that comeback story won't happen here.
What a letdown.
David Baumann is a Sports Columnist for 407area.com and can be heard Tuesdays at 7pm on EK Sports, 96.9 The Game. He can be seen Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 on Spectrum Sports 360's Face Off segment on channel 13 and in HD on channel 1013.
Feature Image Provided By @HomeMalone