Last summer, the Boston Celtics shocked the entire league when they decided to part ways with Isaiah Thomas. The 29-year-old point guard has made a huge sacrifice just to help the Celtics become a significant team again in the Eastern Conference. During the 2016-17 NBA season, Thomas established a very impressive performance, averaging 28.9 points and 5.9 assists on 46.3 percent shooting from the field and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Despite having an injury and losing his sister in a car accident, Isaiah Thomas still decided to play and led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals 2017. Thomas also delayed his contract extension with the Celtics to help them create enough salary cap space to give Gordon Hayward a max contract in the 2017 NBA free agency. For all the things he had done for the organization, Thomas got an unpleasant reward.
In August 2017, the Celtics included Isaiah Thomas in the trade package to acquire Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Most Celtics fans were surprised and saddened by Thomas’ departure, but Boston doesn’t seem to have any regret with their decision. In a recent interview with Chris Forsberg of ESPN, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge revealed that “everybody” in their organization “unanimously” voted for the Thomas-for-Irving blockbuster trade.
“I feel like there’s opportunities that you have to look at and explore, and Kyrie was one of those opportunities that, unanimously, internally it was something that we all felt like we should do,” Danny Ainge said. “Everybody, unanimously, wanted to do it.”
Even before the Celtics superstar suffered a hip injury, most people will agree that Kyrie Irving is a much better player than Isaiah Thomas on both ends of the floor. As of now, there is no doubt that the Celtics made the right decision to push through with the deal. With Irving set to return 100 percent healthy, the Celtics are currently the top favorite to become the new ruler of the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. If they remain healthy throughout the season and build a good chemistry, the Celtics could have a chance at beating the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, in a best-of-seven series.
Meanwhile, Isaiah Thomas has gone through ups and downs since being traded by the Celtics. After missing most of the 2017-18 NBA season with a hip injury, Thomas failed to receive a decent contract this offseason. Instead, the veteran point guard only got a one-year, $2 million contract with the Denver Nuggets in the recent free agency.