Isaiah Thomas has missed the first 36 games of the season while recovering from a torn labrum in his hip. The star point guard will make his debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers during their game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday (January 2). Thomas, however, will not play against the Celtics on Wednesday since it’s the second night of a back-to-back.
Since it’s Thomas’ first time back at the TD Garden since being traded, a tribute video was expected but the athlete informed the team that he does not want a pregame tribute. Thomas explained his decision while responding to a critic on Twitter, noting that he would actually like to be able to play and have his family there when a tribute is done.
A spokesperson for the Celtics said they will adhere to Thomas’ request and plan to honor him at a later date.
The Celtics traded Thomas along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and two draft picks to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving this offseason after Irving expressed his desire to leave Cleveland. Celtics fans and Thomas himself have expressed discontent with the move, especially considering the work IT had put in and the bond he developed with the city.
Thomas, 28, spent two-plus seasons with the Celtics and emerged as one of the NBA’s premier point guards. He made his first All-NBA team in the 2016-17 season and lead the Celtics to grab the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Thomas especially won the heart of the city when he played in the 2017 playoffs following the tragic death of his sister.
“Boston is going to be all love,” Thomas told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. “I might not ever talk to [Celtics’ general manager 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.”