Isaiah Thomas doesn’t plan to play against his old team when the Cavaliers visit the Celtics tomorrow.
But Jae Crowder – also sent from Boston to Cleveland in the Kyrie Irving trade – does. And Crowder has expectations for his return.
Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:
If you remember, Crowder was mad Celtics fans cheered for Gordon Hayward when the Jazz visited Boston last season. Crowder saw fans cheering for an opponent to take his job, and his consternation was justified. The Celtics signed Hayward then traded Crowder last summer.
This just goes to reinforce Crowder’s reputation for having a long memory and being petty. Don’t be surprised if he also bolsters his reputation for toughness tomorrow night.
Gerald Green used his hair to show his Celtics spirit while he played for Boston.
After signing with the Rockets a few days ago, Green – a Houston native – displayed an awesome new hairdo commemorating his hometown team:
Despite questions about his distinctive hair interfering with his shooting form, Elfrid Payton has shot better this season.
Not on this shot in the Magic’s 98-95 loss to the Nets yesterday, though.
Payton didn’t necessarily miss because his hair briefly covered his eyes. But it probably didn’t help.
Good news for the Cavaliers: Isaiah Thomas will make his season debut against the Trail Blazers tonight.
Bad news for anyone who loves a good narrative: As feared, Thomas won’t play against the Celtics tomorrow.
A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:
Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters that Thomas, who has been out all season with a hip injury suffered when he played for the Celtics, said the 5-foot-9 all-star will make his season debut on Tuesday against Portland which means he will not play against Boston the following night.
Regardless, Thomas will be with the Cavaliers when they travel to Boston
Thomas, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“I know it will be all love,” Thomas said. “I keep saying that I gave that city everything I had and they showed me genuine love back and I think that love is going to last forever. So, there’s no hard feelings. This ain’t no revenge game. They know what they gave up. They knew what they got. It’s all good. I’m focused on the Cleveland Cavaliers and trying to win a championship.”
Thomas has expressed bitterness toward the Celtics, but he gave so much to them. The Cavs return to Boston Feb. 11 and maybe again in the playoffs. Thomas’ individual storyline will eventually fade into the matchup between two of the East’s best teams.
But, for now, I expect Boston fans to look past anything Thomas has said about the organization since the trade and greet him with a standing ovation.
One reason the Knicks (18-18) are surprisingly in the playoff mix: Kyle O'Quinn is having a career year.
The center is scoring efficiently inside and from mid-range, cleaning up on the glass, protecting the rim and even distributing some (though that has come with more turnovers). Everything is coming together for him.
That leads to a question: Will O’Quinn exercise his $4,256,250 player option for next season?
Marc Berman of the New York Post:
The Knicks are under the impression O’Quinn, a Queens product who is on a modest pact considering his improvement this season, will opt out this summer.
Maybe O’Quinn, who would be a 28-year-old free agent, will opt out. There’s definitely a chance he earns a raise or at least a long-term contract that justifies forgoing his guaranteed salary. But it’ll also be a tight market, especially for centers.
I wouldn’t put it past the Knicks to portray O’Quinn’s opt out as more of a certainty than it is in order to facilitate a trade. Potential trade partners want certainty, one way or another, on those decisions. Teams could view O’Quinn as a rental.
Meanwhile, the Knicks could clear their logjam at center with Enes Kanter, O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez and Joakim Noah.