Boston, MA– The Boston Celtics have often created video tributes to former players who impacted various eras of the Celtics' history. The tradition continued last night when the Denver Nuggets traveled to Boston bringing along point guard Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas played for the Sacramento Kings and the Phoenix Suns before he was traded to the Celtics. Mainly an acquisition that was part of the Celtics' rebuilding phase, Thomas quickly flourished and almost single-handedly brought the Celtics back to relevance a season or two ahead of when they expected to be competitive in the league again. A two-time NBA All-Star, a member of the 2017 All-NBA Second Team, and a clear star in Boston, Thomas was the face of the team for just over two seasons, and he looked like he was the future after everything he gave to the team.
This changed when Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston, recognizing the generational talent of the guard, quickly pulled the trigger and acquired him in exchange for Thomas, who was suffering from hip ailments, as well. Thomas bounced around between Cleveland and Los Angeles before ending up in Denver, but he's never quite been the same player.
Last night, he made his first return to Boston since the trade back in 2017 and received a warm reception. He received a video tribute and the crowd gave him a deserved ovation. Thomas played seven minutes in the game and put up zero points while Kyrie went for 30 points, which is a microcosm of the direction of these two players ever since the deal went through.
The Nuggets ultimately won the game, though, by a score of 114-105 and punched their ticket to the post-season. While in Boston, Thomas told reporters that the Celtics would have won a title already if they hadn't traded him. Considering how only one full season has elapsed since then and how dominant the Golden State Warriors were last year, this might not necessarily be true, but we will have to see how the Nuggets and Celtics fare when they head into the playoffs.
Image via Wikimedia by Keith Allison