By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Prepare to be shoved back into a glass case of emotion.
Immediately following the blockbuster trade between the Celtics and Cavaliers in late August, there was an incredible range of emotion for Boston fans. There was elation that Kyrie Irving was coming to town, bringing his prowess for hitting big shots and a championship pedigree with him. But then there was the gut punch that Isaiah Thomas was heading to Cleveland, a man whom the city embraced for two-and-a-half seasons. Thomas gave his all for the team whenever he stepped on the floor, whether it was hitting a game-winner to cap off a monster fourth quarter performance, rising to another level in the playoffs while dealing the tragic death of his younger sister, or playing through a hip injury (and making it worse) that he’s still working his way back from today.
So just imagine how Thomas felt when Danny Ainge called to tell him he had been traded. It’s been clear since the deal was first announced that Thomas was pretty hurt by the move, but now we’re getting a firsthand look of the minutes following Ainge’s phone call in the latest installment of Book Of Isaiah II.
While he understands the business of the NBA, having been traded twice before, that really didn’t make it any easier for Thomas.
“After everything I went through, you’re not supposed to do that,” he said. “I was hurt. I was hurt just because everything I have done for them, everything I went through and continued to do for them when I could have called it quits — went home and ended my season. Then I got hurt for them. I gave my heart to that city and organization.”
Thomas added that he was happy to be going to a title contender in Cleveland. But it was still a difficult pill to swallow given all he had done for the Celtics in his brief tenure in green.
“That was a business move by a business man,” he said of Ainge. “You learn in this game and this business that there is no loyalty. They’re going to do what is best for them, and you have to do what is best for you. I knew that coming in and understand that, but how it went down, it’s like … damn.”
The most gripping part of the video is when Thomas lets his two young sons know of the move. His youngest son was not a fan, worried there were no skate parks in Cleveland. His older son was much more excited, with the Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors being his favorite teams.
Still, it was clear where Thomas’ heart was.
“I wanted to be on Boston,” Thomas told his sons.
Thomas is still recovering from the hip injury he played through during Boston’s postseason run, one that ended his amazing season during their Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Cavaliers. He hopes to be back in the next few weeks, and it’s possible he could make his debut when the Cavaliers visit the Celtics on January 3.
Though he’s happy to be in Cleveland, it’s clear the surprising trade will always be on Thomas’ mind, just another chip on his shoulder as he continues to prove his doubters wrong.