After taking his physical in Cleveland Friday, the Cavaliers may be reconsidering the agreed upon Kyrie Irving trade executed Monday, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Thomas traveled to Cleveland for his physical and then flew back out of town afterwards per Woj.
League sources previously told Celticsblog after the trade that Thomas’ physical may present concerns for Cleveland, but that it was not expected to result in the trade being voided. However, Woj reports that the physical has resulted in creating a, “very sensitive situation.”
As one source involved in the process involving Thomas' medical clearance told ESPN late Friday night, "It's a very sensitive situation."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 26, 2017
Although medical staffs from each team exchanged the requisite information as is standard for a trade of this magnitude — involving players with injury histories — the Cavaliers are within their rights to call off the trade if Thomas fails his physical. The trade could also be renegotiated to increase compensation to Cleveland for assuming the injury risk. There is precedent for trades being voided after the physical, including most recently Donatas Montiejunas’ voided trade to the Detroit Pistons in 2016 and Tyson Chandler’s voided deal to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009.
Deals get voided because as much as inter-organization communication can provide context on injuries, a physical exam by a team’s medical staff gets much deeper into diagnosing the issue. It appears that the Cavaliers have identified elevated concern after completing the examination. However, the Cavaliers can also be using this scenario to leverage further draft pick compensation out of the Celtics, knowing Boston will be motivated to avoid the precarious situation of voiding the trade.
The extreme sensitivity involved here is first and foremost concerning the cloudy public perception of Thomas’ health, which has remained murky throughout the offseason as he slowly recovered from a hip labrum tear on which he elected not to have surgery after visiting various doctors throughout the country.
The other prevailing concern is that the Cavaliers exercising their right to back out of the trade due to a failed physical would return Thomas and Crowder back to the Celtics, where the bridge has been set ablaze if not incinerated. Although the wound can heal, it would be an incredibly difficult situation.
Danny Ainge said in his post-trade media call that Isaiah’s hip played some role in motivating the team to complete this trade and the apparent concern over the injury sheds light on why the Celtics were negotiated into turning over the significant compensation of the unprotected 2018 Nets first-round pick and promising center prospect Ante Zizic.