Just when you thought this NBA summer couldn't get any crazier, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday that the Cleveland Cavaliers, on account of Isaiah Thomas' hip injury raising flags during his physical, are asking for further compensation from the Boston Celtics before finalizing the Kyrie Irving trade

The first thought that comes to mind on hearing this report is the whole deal could be voided and Irving could end up where he started in Cleveland, with Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic heading back to the Celtics if Boston isn't willing to sweeten the deal. Both teams are in a tight spot. It would be impossibly awkward, if not downright unmanageable for these players to return to the teams that traded them. 

It's not clear what kind of extra compensation Cleveland is looking for. If it's Jayson Tatum, they're crazy. If it's a future draft pick that isn't that 2018 Lakers pick (which could be a top-five pick), Boston would likely listen. But if the Cavs aren't bluffing and would actually rescind this trade if Boston doesn't agree to sweeten the deal, they are playing with fire. 

Having to take back Kyrie, and then find another trade partner with even less leverage this time around, would be bad. Losing that 2018 unprotected Nets pick would be even worse. 

The simple truth is that even if Thomas were never in the deal to begin with, getting Crowder and that unprotected 2018 Nets pick alone would be a good, if not great score, particularly considering they were losing leverage by the day as Irving reportedly told them he wanted to be moved before training camp. That's more than Chicago got for Jimmy Butler. More than Sacramento got for DeMarcus Cousins. It's way more than Indiana got for Paul George

If the Cavs were to take that trade back, the odds of them putting together a second trade -- again, with even less leverage this time around -- that would net them an asset as valuable as that Brooklyn pick are slim. That pick is everything to Cleveland right now. It's the best asset/trade chip they have to pitch LeBron on staying. It's also basically the only building block they have if he leaves next summer. 

That, really, is what this is all about. LeBron's decision, part two. After James left Cleveland for Miami in 2010, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert had this to say to Cleveland.com's Jodie Valade in 2012 regarding what he would do different if put in the same situation again:

"The big lesson was if a player is not willing to extend, no matter who they are, no matter where they are playing, no matter what kind of season you had, you cannot risk going into a summer and having them leave in unrestricted free agency and get nothing back for it. It's not the player's fault. That's on ownership."  

Read between the lines here, and Gilbert is talking about trading a player before you lose them for nothing, as the Pacers did with Paul George this summer. But LeBron has a no-trade clause, and even if he didn't, are you really going to trade LeBron? The common-sense takeaway from this is that Gilbert clearly understands the importance of planning for the worst. Obviously he hopes LeBron stays next year, but you can bet he's preparing as if he'll leave -- which, according to a report by Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher, is exactly what multiple league execs think he's almost certain to do. 

That's why that pick is so vital, and the Cavs should be thanking their lucky stars that they got it. Coming into this summer, they had no cap room and no draft picks to trade until 2021. They tried to move Kevin Love, but nobody was interested. They struck out on George. Struck out on Butler. Even if they pull back this trade, Kyrie is gone, and if LeBron leaves too, what is Cleveland going to do? Re-sign Love and roll with him as its No. 1? No way. The Cavs are going to clear the deck and start over -- only without an asset like that Nets pick to get the rebuild started. 

Look, nobody wants damaged goods in a deal this big, certainly not for a player of Irving's caliber. But there are so many unique circumstances in this deal, and LeBron's decision is hanging over the whole thing. Even in the worst-case scenario of Thomas being a fraction of the player he was last year, he's only under contract for one more year for $6 million. If a Cavs team that probably isn't going to win the title anyway has to halfway bail on this year and let Thomas go in order to preserve its post-LeBron future, would that really be the worst thing?

That sounds harsh, and if this injury really is going to limit Thomas' game moving forward, you have to feel terrible for him as he is finally in line for the payday he deserves next summer. But this is business. The Cavs have to plan for LeBron leaving, and there is no better way to do that than to secure a high-leverage draft pick. They have that in their hand. They'd be taking a huge, huge gamble to let it go.