Isaiah Thomas says he may never speak to Danny Ainge again

Isaiah Thomas says he may never speak to Danny Ainge again

Transactions

Isaiah Thomas says he may never speak to Danny Ainge again

Isaiah Thomas has hinted over the past few weeks that he is still bitter about the trade that sent him from the Boston Celtics to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thomas feels betrayed by Danny Ainge and the organization after everything he did for the franchise last season. Thomas has every right to feel this way; it’s an understandable reaction to the Celtics’ business decision.

But in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, Thomas said he will have nothing but love for the Celtics going forward… with one exception.

“I might not ever talk to Danny [Ainge] again,” Thomas told SI. “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, ‘F 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.”

Thomas is justified in his feeling, being shipped out of town after a season that will forever be synonymous in the Garden halls with greatness and sacrifice. From playing physically injured, which he admitted was a detrimental move, to emotionally wounded after his sister passed away during the playoffs, Thomas did everything Boston could’ve asked for and then some, so he feels the trade was Ainge betraying him.

Things changed, Thomas’ health outlook became murky, so Ainge made a bold move to keep the Celtics’ rebuild moving forward. He gave up a massive package to make it happen and has essentially hung his reputation on Kyrie Irving becoming an MVP-caliber player as he enters his prime.

The SI story weaves through Thomas’ career, where he has been kicked out the door at every stop. No matter how much Thomas has overcome his size, draft position and every other hurdle that goes into that chip on his shoulder, he still finds himself living a groundhog day scenario.

“None of it made any sense,” Thomas says. “It still doesn’t make any sense. I’m still asking, ‘What the hell happened?’ It’s a trade you make in NBA2K. It’s not a trade you make in real life.

With his hip injury, where the Celtics saw a red flag that could put their whole program at risk. They have been extremely patient in their process while making aggressive – and now even audacious – moves to keep marching toward being a perennial title favorite. With an eye on the Warriors’ historically long title window and the age of their draft picks, they saw an opportunity to swap their core franchise player for one several years younger and without a major injury with long-term implications coming into a contract year. The consequence is that they lost the guy that made it all work last year.

“Boston is going to be good. They’ve got really good players and a great coach,” Thomas said. “But it takes more than talent. They lost a lot of heart and soul.”

Brad Stevens was well aware of this the night Thomas was traded.

“I’ve been looking at this wall for five hours,”  Stevens texted Thomas after the trade, according to Jenkins, “trying to figure out what to say to you.”

What hurt so much for Thomas was his optimism that it was going to work with Boston. The expectation that the grand plan was on track, with him at the steering wheel. He was about to finally buy a house after renting an apartment in the East Cambridge area for two years.

He was confident in recruiting Al Horford and then Gordon Hayward, believing that he would eventually see his own Brinks truck back up and dump a money pile at his front door. He felt the Celtics would reward him for his production on the floor and success in wooing fellow All-Stars to Boston. But the Celtics pay for proactive performances rather than retroactive ones, so the calculus from their end was that the money should go to Irving.

“I felt like I was building my own thing in Boston and we were close,” Thomas said. “We were so close! Dang! That’s what hurts. We went from the lottery to the conference finals. We just got Hayward. We were right there. Think of all the national TV games we were about to have.”

He’ll still have those national TV games, as he was lucky enough to get traded off of one contender to an even better one. His son wanted him to team up with LeBron James and unwittingly got his wish. Now, the senior Thomas is ready to eventually get back to health and have an easy time playing his game.

“I get to be with the best player in the world now,” Thomas said. “I’ll only have one guy on me. All the double and triple teams will be on No. 23.”

Thomas is on track to return for the Cavaliers’ trip to Boston on Thursday January 4, so he may have his chance to get revenge. Even if he doesn’t want it.

More Celtics Wire
Home