“Boston is going to be all love,” says Isaiah Thomas of his eventual return to the city that made him an NBA star —except for one thing.
In a new story with Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, the Cavaliers guard discusses the trade that sent him to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving over the summer and his frustration with Celtics general manager Danny Ainge.
Thomas, who quickly became the face of the franchise after landing in Boston via trade in the middle of the 2014–15 season.
Sacramento and Phoenix, Aaron Brooks and Eric Bledsoe, provided an early education in the business of basketball. But they could not prepare Thomas for Aug. 22. He has wracked his brain for reasons the Celtics moved him, having been assured performance and personality were not among them. Ainge acknowledged that Thomas’s health played a role, as did his contract. By any normal measure, Thomas is richly compensated at $6.2 million this year, but in the NBA he is a dime-store steal who finally reaches free agency next summer. The irony, of course, is that Thomas jeopardized both health and earning potential while playing hurt for the Celtics.
“I’ve been looking at this wall for five hours,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens texted Thomas after the trade, “trying to figure out what to say to you.” When Sacramento let Thomas walk in 2014, he left town telling himself, “F--- Sacramento. I’m about to kill those dudes.” When Phoenix exiled him the following winter, he pledged, “O.K., now they’re gonna get it.” But there will be no revenge tour this time. “Boston is going to be all love,” he vows, with one exception. “I might not ever talk to Danny again. That might not happen. I’ll talk to everybody else. But what he did, knowing everything I went through, you don’t do that, bro. That’s not right. I’m not saying eff you. But every team in this situation comes out a year or two later and says, ‘We made a mistake.’ That’s what they’ll say, too.”
The Celtics and Cavs play on opening night, but Thomas will miss the game as he continues to recover from his hip injury.
Read the full Sports Illustrated story here.