Isaiah Thomas wanted the chance to say goodbye to Boston, he wanted to say he’s excited about playing in Cleveland, and he wanted fans to have some insight into what it’s like to be blindsided by a trade.
He did all of that in a heartfelt piece posted at the Players’ Tribune. You should take the time to go read all of it.
Let’s start with him not seeing the trade coming. Thomas said he got a call from Boston’s Danny Ainge while in the car driving back from vacation to his Seattle-area home when he got the call. Thomas talked about the emotions of it, including having to tell his young children they were moving right before school starts. Thomas was honest.
But yeah, I’ll just say it: That s*** hurt. It hurt a lot….
It’s not that I don’t understand it. Of course I get it: This is a business. Danny is a businessman, and he made a business move. I don’t agree with it, just personally, and I don’t think the Boston Celtics got better by making this trade. But that’s not my job. That’s Danny’s. And it’s a tough job, and he’s been really good at it. But at the end of the day, these deals just come down to one thing: business. So it’s no hard feelings on that end. I’m a grown man, and I know what I got into when I joined this league — and so far it’s been more blessings than curses. I’m not sitting here, writing this, because I feel I was wronged. I wasn’t wronged. It was Boston’s right to trade me.
Thomas writes at length about his love for Boston and the Celtics’ fans, who loved him back. He talks about the overwhelming emotions of the night he played in the playoffs last year 24 hours after learning his sister had died in a car accident — and the overwhelming support in the Boston Garden that night.
And at that point (after a moment of silence), you know, I think it just kind of hit me, like — of course I’ve gotta play. First of all, I’m going to do it for Chyna, and for my family. But then I’m also going to do it for my city. ’Cause what they’re showing me right now, is all I needed tonight: to know I’m not alone. They’re showing me that they’re going through the same thing I’m going through right now. They’re showing me that I’m one of them, and that we’re in this together. So let’s be in this together.
And for two and a half years, man, we were.
Thomas sees himself as making the Celtics better.
From a basketball perspective, me on the Cavs is a match made in heaven. If you’ve watched any Celtics games last year, then you know how many times I would have to go through double and even triple teams, just to get my shot off. It ended up working fine for us — guys played great, and my shot was falling. But this year … man, it’s not even going to be a thing. You really going to throw three guys on me, when I’m sharing a court with the best basketball player on the planet? Nah, I don’t think so.
It’s going to be fun to watch Thomas on the Cavaliers, once he gets healthy and on the court. He brings scoring, he brings clutch play, and he also carries a chip on his shoulder that the Cavaliers sometimes need during the regular season (the team is known to coast). He will play his heart out for the Cavaliers, like he has at every stop before. And Cleveland fans will love him, the way they did in Sacramento and Boston.
But Thomas as a Celtic may well be our longest lasting memory of him.