One of the most surprising trades of the NBA offseason was when the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in a package that included star point guard Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas, understandably, wasn't thrilled with the trade, as he had just become a star in Boston and was beloved by fans.
He says there's nothing but love between him, his former coaches and teammates and the fans of the Celtics, but said he may never talk to general manager Danny Ainge again.
Now, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck has weighed in on the drama between IT and Ainge, saying he understands Thomas's point of view and reiterating that he appreciates everything the star point guard did for Boston (via ESPN's Chris Forsberg):
"It's an understandable reaction from a true champion, somebody that I will always think of with respect and appreciation and admiration for what he did," Grousbeck said. "So it was very hard to trade him this summer."
It was a tough decision for Ainge and everyone involved with the Boston organization, but Ainge feels like he made the right move bringing Irving into the mix.
In a Sports Illustrated profile by Lee Jenkins, Thomas said he may never talk to Ainge again and that the Celtics would be saying they made a mistake soon - which are the comments Grousbeck was referring to:
“Boston is going to be all love,” he vows, with one exception. “I might not ever talk to Danny again. That might not happen. I’ll talk to everybody else. But what he did, knowing everything I went through, you don’t do that, bro. That’s not right. I’m not saying eff you. But every team in this situation comes out a year or two later and says, ‘We made a mistake.’ That’s what they’ll say, too.”
Thomas has a lot of work to do before he gets back on the court, as he suffered a serious hip injury last year and might not be ready until the calendar flips to 2018.
When told of Thomas's comments, Ainge seemed genuinely hurt, reiterating how tough it was to trade the star guard:
"You know, that's the hard part of the job," he said. "I mean, I know there is a lot of feelings that go on when these type of things happen. I was a player that was traded twice, so I understand his sentiments, but you guys know how much I love Isaiah. He's a great kid and I wish him the best."
Whatever happens this season, the rivalry between the Cavs and Celtics is sure to be even more intense than it has been in years past.