The new Lee Jenkins jam does what it usually does—suffuse its subject with a big old cloud of pathos—and his current subject, Isaiah Thomas, couldn’t be more deserving of the treatment. Thomas landed in Boston after languishing under-appreciated in Sacramento and Phoenix, made All-NBA teams, led the East in scoring, recruited new talent to the Celtics roster, and played through the death of his sister and severe hip pain, only to get shipped to the Cavs in the offseason. Here’s what he had to say about all that:
The Trade—Irving to the Celtics; Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Nets’ first-round pick next year and the Heat’s second-round pick in 2020 to the Cavs—was preposterous enough, on multiple levels. For one thing, players don’t ask to leave LeBron James, as Irving did. For another, conference rivals don’t swap franchise point guards, especially when one of those floor generals is a happy and loved 28-year-old who played through injury and grief while recruiting landmark free agents in successive summers. “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.”
And later in the piece:
“I’ve been looking at this wall for five hours,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens texted Thomas after the trade, “trying to figure out what to say to you.” When Sacramento let Thomas walk in 2014, he left town telling himself, “F—- Sacramento. I’m about to kill those dudes.” When Phoenix exiled him the following winter, he pledged, “O.K., now they’re gonna get it.” But there will be no revenge tour this time. “Boston is going to be all love,” he vows, with one exception. “I might not ever talk to Danny 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.”
Per Jenkins, Thomas has been rehabbing his torn labrum and working out six days a week, but continues to struggle with side-to-side motion. You can read the full story here.