Isaiah Thomas welcomed back with open arms in return to Boston

Last season, Isaiah Thomas was a legitimate MVP candidate for the Boston Celtics, averaging 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game while spearheading an impressive playoff run.

Shockingly getting traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and two draft picks in exchange for Kyrie Irving at the end of the summer, Thomas was caught off-guard and was openly saddened and hurt.

Sitting out of Cleveland’s first 35 games in order to heal his injured hip, Thomas also seemingly spent some time mentally healing from the trade that tore him away from his beloved city.

Heading into Wednesday night’s game against the Celtics back in Boston, IT was held out to rest on the second half of a back-to-back, but an emotional moment between the player and his former fans was captured on camera.

The Celtics honored Thomas’ request to not show a tribute video for him. But when he joined his team on the bench towards the end of the first quarter, Celtics fans erupted in applause and gave him a standing ovation.

Before the game, Thomas expressed how odd it was for him to be heading to the visitor’s locker room, but it was obvious that the arena brought back fond memories for him.

“I almost walked that way in their locker room,” Thomas said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “No, I mean, I love this city, I love this organization. They’ve given me the opportunity to be who I always wanted to be, and I can’t thank them enough. So there’s no hard feelings to anybody in this city or anybody in this organization. And I’m glad I’m back.

“Like I always said, it’s genuine love. And that’s for the rest of my life here.”

It also seems like any dissatisfaction that Thomas had with Danny Ainge is now a thing of the past.

“Have I forgiven Danny?” Thomas said. “He texted me last night, so yeah, we’re good.”

He also made it clear that he still has love for his former teammates.

“I watch them a lot. I like how they play,” he said. “I love [coach] Brad Stevens. I love Marcus Smart, even though he flops all the time. I love Terry Rozier. I love the coaching staff. Like I said, there’s no hard feelings.”

Cleveland could have used Thomas’ production on the court, though. Boston won the game 102-88 and Cleveland shot 34.8 percent overall, including just 8-for-32 (25.0 percent) from three-point range.

Although he didn’t get on the floor, getting the game out of the way finally allowed Thomas to officially close the door on his time in Boston.

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