“There’s no hard feelings to anybody in this city or anybody in this organization,” former Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas said Wednesday night, when he returned to the TD Garden for the first time since getting traded.
Thomas, who was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the offseason, initially took the news of the trade to heart. In an interview with Sports Illustrated in October, he told Lee Jenkins that he “might not ever talk” to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge again.
But it appears a silent stalemate has been avoided.
The pair texted Tuesday after Thomas made his season debut against the Portland Trailblazers. Asked if he’s forgiven Ainge, he told reporters, “Yeah, we’re good.”
“It only stung me when it happened,” Thomas said. “I always said people brought the trade up. I wasn’t the one who always wanted to talk about it. I always said if I was able to play when it did happen, I don’t think the trade we’d be talking about as much.”
The fan favorite didn’t play in his Boston homecoming because he had logged 17 minutes the night prior and wasn’t permitted to participate in back-to-back contests. As much as he wanted to take the court, the 5-foot-9 All-Star said he wouldn’t have wanted to play under restricted minutes against Boston anyway.
“There was no way I was going to come back against Boston and play 17 minutes,” he said. “It’s too big of an opportunity to play against my former teammates, my former coaches, the city that gave me my biggest opportunity. I always wanted to play this game, but I thought I would be back a little sooner to be able to play.”
Despite not playing, however, Thomas said he was happy to be back and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
“I always said, it’s genuine love, and that’s for the rest of my life here,” he said.
But there is still one thing that leaves him a little bitter: Ainge didn’t send him a Christmas card this year.
“He could have found my address somehow!”
Ainge, who had previously sent Thomas cards the past two years, said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich that he didn’t even realize the point guard was no longer on his recipient list.
Danny Ainge also said that he and Isaiah Thomas hugged in the TD Garden tunnel last night, and that he had no idea he had left Isaiah off his Christmas card list. #Celtics
— Toucher and Rich (@Toucherandrich) January 4, 2018