Once or twice a decade the world is blessed with a transaction train wreck that highlights the ruthless business of professional sports: Alex Rodriguez to the Red Sox, Chris Paul to the Lakers, and now Isaiah Thomas to the Cavaliers? Anything but footnotes in the history of their respected sports, these failed swaps serve as stains of incompetence, injustice, and unfairness to both the players and teams involved. If only the Cavaliers and Celtics had something to keep everybody distracted while they figure how many hip bones their trade’s centerpiece has. Oh wait, there was something now that you mention it.
While Saturday night’s “Money Fight” failed in capturing my attention skill wise, it did succeed in creating several intriguing storylines. The initial eye-test tells me that when Floyd Mayweather and Conor Mcgregor wake up in the morning, they are comparable fighters. Only after the 25-minute internal clock of a UFC fighter ran out did the endurance King begin closing the space. Make no mistake about it: This was a war of attrition, not skill. The first three rounds proved this as Mayweather seemed confused by the 74-inch reach of Mcgregor (longest he has faced in his career). Mayweather failed to cut off the ring the few times he did have Mcgregor on the move, and the decision to repeatedly give up his back while tied up tells me he wasn’t interested in trading close range shots with Conor.
Despite not having his best stuff at age 40, the patience and conditioning of Mayweather were more than admirable. It was like watching Appolo Anton Ohno in his prime, lurking behind the pack of skaters lap after lap. Your heart is racing and you keep growing increasingly impatient waiting for him to make his move. Then all of a sudden he’s shot out of a cannon and passing South Koreans while watching BuzzFeed recipe videos on his smartphone. Eventually, greatness always prevails- that’s why they’re great. Conor McGregor should never have been in that ring, but then again neither should have Mayweather.
All in all, I didn’t feel so bad being 100 dollar’s poorer on Sunday Morning, however, I did have a feeling of emptiness. The world needed someone to hit the mat that night. There was no belt on the line, and no real professional consequences for either fighter should Conor have been knocked out. It was a spectacle and spectacles that expensive do not end with a ref jumping in for any reason other than unconsciousness. I have seen Mcgregor in FAR worse shape than that. If you think I’m making excuses for my ancestor’s countrymen, go watch the 4th round of Diaz-Mcgregor II. His legs had given out underneath him, arms flailing, blood dripping and was getting his ass kicked; He won the next round and it wasn’t even close. At no point during the tenth round of Saturday’s fight did I feel concerned or worried about Mcgregor’s health. Floyd may have beaten Conor up, but in my book, he didn’t finish him. Someone else did.
Now while this charade was going on in Las Vegas, Isaiah Thomas was landing in his new home of Cleveland. After meeting with team officials and taking a mandatory physical, Thomas didn’t stay around to go house shopping. Instead, he got on a flight and headed back to Boston. League rules mandate a team may void a trade should a player not pass their physical and as we know Thomas elected not to have surgery this offseason on the hip that knocked him out of the Eastern Conference Finals. So know what? Are they going to text Kyrie Irving “JK, lol” expecting him to be willing come back to play for the team he requested a trade for in the first place? And I suppose Thomas will shake Danny Ainge’s hand and say “No hard feelings” after scoring 53 days after his sister’s death and STILL getting traded? No, neither teams want this problem.
In an effort to keep things civilized, Cleveland came up with a brilliant idea to request another asset from Boston as compensation for Thomas’ bum hip. I thought this would be easy: Send them a 2019 2nd round pick and then I can add a Kyrie Celtics jersey to my shopping cart. Instead, the Cavalier’s counted with perhaps the most absurd offer since Jamie Lannister for both the Stark girls: Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. I’m sure if the Celtics could spit through the phone they would. Imagine the faces of NBA league officials monitoring the conference call when the Cavs requested one of the Celtics two prized 3rd overall picks. They knew right then and there that this situation had no plausible, positive outcome.
The two sides have until Wednesday to come to an agreement or else the move will be vetoed. After originally looking like a rare trade that benefits both team’s, it now seems likely someone is going to get hurt. Who would’ve thought the NBA would have the best fight of the weekend.