Isaiah Thomas still has a bad taste in his mouth about the Boston Celtics trading him to the Cleveland Cavaliers… but for one specific person: Celtics executive Danny Ainge.
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Thomas was mostly positive about his time in Boston, but said Danny really hurt him and takes it personal.
“Boston is going to be all love,” Thomas said. “I might not ever talk to Danny [Ainge] 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.”
As for the the trials and tribulations he’s referring to, Thomas is talking about his loyalty to the Celtics and helping them reach the Eastern Conference finals despite losing his sister to a car accident the day before the playoffs began. He also played through a right hip injury that ultimately sidelined him.
Three months after their playoff run, the Celtics sent Thomas to Cleveland as part of a blockbuster trade where Boston got Kyrie Irving.
Ainge has said that the uncertainty about Thomas’ injury and his impending free agency next summer was the motivating factor behind the trade. Thomas, however, doesn’t buy it. “None of it made any sense,” he told SI. “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.”
After Thomas’s comments were published, Ainge was asking what he thought. While he understands, he says it’s a part of the game. “You know, [trades are] the hard part of the job,” he told ESPN. “I know there is a lot of feelings that go on when these type of things happen. I was a player that was traded twice, so I understand his sentiments, but you guys know how much I love Isaiah. He’s a great kid and I wish him the best.”
When asked if he and Thomas could mend their relationship later, Ainge said he was open to trying, but left it up to Thomas. “I would try to [talk to Thomas], but I have no idea,” Ainge said. “That takes two people and, obviously, he said some things today and has some strong feelings and strong emotions, and I understand those.”
Thomas is coming off back-to-back All-Star appearances and a career high in points, averaing 28.9 per game last seeason, alongside 5.9 assists.
However, he likely won’t see action with the Cavs until the first of the year as he rehabs a hip injury.