Isaiah Thomas cleared the air on Wednesday night, speaking with the Boston media for the first time since his trade from the Celtics to the Cavs last August. He addressed a number of topics that had been creating drama over the last few weeks so let's breakdown a few of his most noteworthy comments.
1. A full explanation of his postponement of tribute video:
Isaiah: "That’s Pierce’s night. But, like, the video tribute ain’t the whole night. Like, I just wanted my family to be here to see it. That’s what it came down to. I wanted to be able to play. And I wanted my family to experience the love and appreciation this city and this organization is going to give me on that night. And when my representatives reached out to these guys, they were all for it. They agreed on it. I know people -- I don’t why they’re so mad about it. I’m not taking nothing from Paul Pierce. He did 15 years here so there’s nothing that I can take from him. But if they choose to do it that night, that would be great and I would be honored. And my family and friends can see how much they appreciated me here."
B-Robb's takeaway: It's still a little weird to postpone it, but makes sense the Celtics would want to appease him after trading him away in the fashion they did. Pierce's retirement will be after the game so it's not a huge deal. Still a bit awkward, but it is what it is. No going back now. Isaiah's reps should check the calendar next time for retirement conflicts though.
2. Isaiah still loves the Celtics and has maybe buried the hatchet with Danny Ainge:
Reporter: Do you still watch the Celtics?
Isaiah: How much do I watch the Celtics? I watch them a lot. I like how they play. I love Brad Stevens. I love Marcus Smart, even though he flops all the time. I love Terry Rozier. I love the coaching staff. Like I said, there’s no hard feelings. The only hard feeling is Danny didn’t send me no Christmas card this year.
Reporter: Did you send Ainge a Christmas card?
Isaiah: Nah but he sent me one the last two years. He could’ve found my address somehow.
Reporter: Have you forgiven Danny?
Isaiah: Have I forgiven Danny? He texted me last night, so, yeah, we’re good.
B-Robb's takeaway: I believe Thomas when he talks about his sentiments about this team. Ainge? Time heals all wounds but it's hard to buy full forgiveness a few months after saying he'd never talk to him again. It's obviously a good sign they are joking around about it, but behind closed doors you can bet Thomas would like nothing more than to prove Ainge made a mistake to the world.
3. He still has a long way to go to get back to 100 percent
Isaiah: "Far away. The hip has gotten a lot better. But it’s still movements that I’m scared to do, but it’s just because I’ve been out for so long. For the most part, when you get hurt, the mental side of things is the toughest part. My wind isn’t there, I’m not in that good of shape. Obviously, my game isn’t where I want it to be but it showed a positive step in the right direction yesterday that I’m not far from where I want to be. I want to be MVP one day, so I know anybody that takes seven months off isn’t just going to walk into doing that. I got a lot of work to do but I’m happy about the progress and I’m happy about everything that happened yesterday."
B-Robb's takeaway: No surprise here. The Cavs has been cautious with him over the last month and with the priority being the postseason. I'd expect to continue. Whether he can get to that level in for the February 11th matchup will be the question.
Final thoughts: Thomas did well here, trying to bury the hatchet as much as he could after sounding understandably bitter over the last few weeks. He sounded like a guy who is just excited to be back on the court and that has improved his mood after watching from the sidelines for the last seven months. It's hard to be anything but happy for him at some point. The guy brought the Celtics back to respectability over the last few years and had a nice run here which helped him become a star. In the end, everyone came out well (assuming Thomas can still get a nice new contract this offseason).