Morning sports update: Isaiah Thomas told Danny Ainge that he’d ‘love to come back’ to the Celtics in free agency

"S***, I'd have gone back. I don't hold grudges."

Isaiah Thomas reached out to Danny Ainge before finalizing a one-year, $2 million deal with the Denver Nuggets.

After a rain delay, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a three-run homer to lift the Red Sox to a 9-1 win over the Tigers on Sunday. Chris Sale struck out nine in six scoreless innings for Boston, lowering his ERA to an AL-best 2.13.

Isaiah Thomas told Danny Ainge that he’d ‘love to come back’ to the Celtics in free agency

Isaiah Thomas would have come back. Even after the Celtics traded him away following an MVP-caliber season and 53-point performance on his late sister’s birthday — a cold-blooded move that most likely cost the point guard nine figures — Thomas would have come back.

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Thomas reached out to Danny Ainge before finalizing a one-year, $2 million deal with the Denver Nuggets. In an interview with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi, he recalled telling the Celtics president of basketball operations, “If the opportunity is there, I would just like to let you know that I’d love to come back.”

Ainge was open to the idea, per Wojnarowksi, but Thomas accepted the Nuggets’ offer before Boston had taken care of their No. 1 priority this summer — reaching a deal with restricted free-agent Marcus Smart.

“S***, I’d have gone back,” Thomas said. “I don’t hold grudges.”

This was supposed to be the summer the 5-foot-9 guard signed a $150 million max contract extension with the Celtics. That changed when Thomas played on an injured hip for Boston in the 2017 playoffs, then found himself included in two trades in the space of six months. When the Brinks truck was brought out, it held a veteran’s minimum offer.

“If I didn’t play in the playoffs, I’d be OK,” Thomas said. “I’d be getting paid. I’d be who I am — who I was. But you couldn’t tell me in that moment in time — with everything I was going through — that, OK, I should just sit out. I don’t think Boston went about it the right way, as well.

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“But at the same time, it was hard for me to sit out. I just lost my sister, one of the closest people in my life. Basketball was the only thing that was going to help me out. I played until I literally couldn’t play anymore. And that was not a good business decision if I was looking in the long term, but I was looking in the ‘right now.’ That’s just what it was.

“They probably would’ve traded me anyway. But I would’ve been in position to show my worth, and last year I was never in position to show my worth.”

Thomas noted he’s fine with where he’s at and isn’t trying to blame everyone else. However, he pointed to the difference between his situation and other players who’ve received massive paydays even after major injuries.

“This is just a battle that I have to fight that nobody else has to fight,” Thomas said. “Nobody. Nobody can say that they fight the same battle as me, especially with what I’ve done. The only thing that they’ve got now is, ‘Oh, he’s hurt his hip.’ That’s all they got on me now. Before it was, ‘Oh well, it’s Brad Stevens. It’s the system. Come on, check my career stats. They don’t lie.”

This season, the two-time All-Star plans to show decision-makers across the NBA that he can still play at a high level. Thomas is not worried about whether he starts or comes off the bench for Denver, just “showing the world who [he is] again.” The max offer might be back on the table this time next year.

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“You can always play the ‘what-if,’ game, but man, I’ve been F’d over so many times. But, of course, I think about it. I’m human,” Thomas said. “I’m human.”

Catching up with old friends: Wes Welker: Welker — who still holds the Patriots’ all-time record for number of receptions — recently returned to Boston, where he talked to Nicole Yang about his relationship with Tom Brady, the backlash to the Patriot Way, and the similarities between Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. (Boston.com)

The new Ted Williams documentary is mesmerizing: In the upcoming PBS documentary, “Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived,” director Nick Davis does a remarkable job of telling the full Williams story. Chad Finn writes that “the documentary captures everything compelling about Williams — but nothing more so than the satisfying aesthetics of his impossibly picturesque swing.” (Boston.com)

Noah Syndergaard to DL again due to hand-foot-and-mouth disease: The New York Mets ace is headed to the disabled list after contracting hand-foot-and-mouth disease. The team figures Syndergaard caught the contagious virus when he made an appearance at a baseball camp for kids last Thursday during the All-Star break.

“Hand-foot-and-mouth, are you serious? I guess it’s very uncommon in adults, period,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “It’s kind of odd. Maybe the first DL stint in Major League Baseball with hand-foot-and-mouth? I don’t know. A record or something.” (Boston.com)

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