Isaiah Thomas gave the Celtics everything he had — he played through the emotional pain of his sister’s death during the playoffs and the physical pain of his hip issue — leading the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals. Thomas, the undersized and feisty guard, was fifth in the MVP voting that season and was a fan favorite.
The Celtics traded him to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving, and Thomas has never been the same because of that hip issue (he has yet to play this season following surgery). It was a talent upgrade for Boston, everything was done by the rules, but for a lot of players around the league it was seen as a cold, business-first move by the Celtics and Danny Ainge.
“I would never want my son to play for Boston after what they done to Isaiah Thomas,” Anthony Davis Sr. told ESPN on Friday. “No loyalty. Guy gives his heart and soul and they traded him.”
“This is just my opinion, not Anthony’s,” he said. “I’ve just seen things over the years with Boston and there’s no loyalty.”
That opinion will carry weight. Davis Sr. is intimately involved in his son’s career and is closely involved in a lot of his off-the-court opportunities.
This should not slow Ainge’s quest to land Davis — and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN it will not — as Davis one of the five best players in the world (at least) and is just 25 and entering his prime.
However, Ainge’s plan seems on much shakier ground than it did a week ago, with Kyrie Irving saying “ask me July 1” about his pending free agency, and with rumors circulating he will join Kevin Durant in New York next summer. Ainge’s goal has always been to pair Irving and Davis with quality role players around them, and that the pair winning would cement them staying in town. Now it looks harder just to get them to town. A lot could happen between now and when free agency opens July 1 — if the Celtics have a deep playoff run Irving may decide he wants to stay a Celtic, especially if Ainge can say Davis is coming — but right now there are a lot of moving parts that could blow up Ainge’s plan.
Meanwhile, the Lakers’ position just looks stronger by the day. That said, if the Pelicans don’t like the Los Angeles offer they can just wait out the market and see if something better comes along. Sources continue to tell me New Orleans will not be rushed, they likely will not make a decision until after the season.