The Boston Celtics were about 30 minutes away from missing out on a trade at the 2015 deadline that changed the course of their franchise, according to assistant GM Mike Zarren.
Zarren, speaking to the Athletic’s Sam Amick for a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what happens at the deadline, said the Celtics thought their deal for Thomas was dead less than an hour before the deadline.
“We’d been going back and forth with (Phoenix) for a while on Isaiah,” Zarren told Amick. “It wasn’t a new discussion. Neither of those discussions were brand new, but both of them we thought were dead half an hour before the deadline.”
The deal, of course, went through and completely changed Boston’s trajectory. Thomas’ presence helped reel in Al Horford and Gordon Hayward via free agency. Along with a completely different core, Thomas propelled the Celtics through the playoffs — playing through an injury that he probably shouldn’t have played through, although in the wake of his sister’s passing, he may have been extra motivated to participate. And finally, Thomas was part of Boston’s deal for Kyrie Irving in the summer of 2017.
In other words, deals can come together quickly when the pressure is on to finish them, and deals that don’t feel particularly consequential at the deadline can have far-reaching ripple effects.
Also, Zarren dropped this nuggets.
“I’ve talked to 10 teams in the last week about trades, and I don’t think there’s been a Celtics trade rumor out this week,” Zarren told Amick. “They were all serious conversations, but how close to a trade did we get? Not very.”
So do with that whatever you will.