Whenever a team trades the face of their franchise, there is inevitably going to be some tension. Whether it be from the fans, who devoted ours to building them up as their favorite player; or the player feelings slighted by the organization; or even from the organization itself, upset that they were put in a position where they were forced to prematurely end the relationship.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Isaiah Thomas opened up about his feelings towards the Boston Celtics, as well as Danny Ainge:
I've been looking at this wall for five hours," Celtics coach Brad Stevens texted Thomas after the trade, "trying to figure out what to say to you." When Sacramento let Thomas walk in 2014, he left town telling himself, "F--- Sacramento. I'm about to kill those dudes." When Phoenix exiled him the following winter, he pledged, "O.K., now they're gonna get it." But there will be no revenge tour this time. "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 also went on to express some regret towards playing through his hip injury during the playoffs.
“No doubt about it, I should have sat out the playoffs,” he says. “No way around it, I made it worse.”
The tough thing about situations like this is that nobody is necessarily wrong. The Celtics likely believe they were a major factor in Thomas’ performance last season and were able to sell high before he demanded the payday he openly stated he was after. They got younger and better at one of the most important positions in the league. It was a business decision made by a business.
For Thomas, it’s tough to swallow as a human. He clearly felt like the connection was more than just a business relationship. That’s why he played immediately following the death of his sister, as well as through what we now know to be a serious hip injury.
The connection between a fan base and the players they root for can be a special thing. It’s clear that there is a lasting bond between Thomas and the city of Boston. His frustration is understandable and in many ways justified. However, there is no right and wrong in this situation. But hurt feelings are inevitable whenever something like this happens, and that appears to be what we have here.