Getting rid of a player as popular and accomplished as Isaiah Thomas was a difficult decision for Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, but ultimately he traded Thomas and other assets to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving on Tuesday.
Ainge addressed the media after the trade became official, and noted Irving's age (25) and playoff track record as key reasons for the acquisition. Ainge was also asked about whether Thomas' hip injury -- which caused him to miss the final three games of the Eastern Conference finals -- played a role.
"Some. There's gonna be probably a little bit of a delay for Isaiah as he starts the season this year, but I think that Isaiah should be fine and healthy as the season goes along," Ainge said.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens recently said that, and that he would be re-evaluated in early September. Ainge went a step further, suggesting Thomas may not be ready for the start of the season. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that the Cavs were anxious to get Thomas in for a physical to see if they agree with the Celtics' treatment plan, but that they're not concerned.
Boston has believed rest + rehab would return Thomas' hip to a full recovery. Cavs plan to monitor closely, anxious to give him physical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 23, 2017
Ainge did not go into details about the conversation he had with Thomas about the trade, but he reiterated how difficult the decision was and how big an impact Thomas had on the city of Boston.
"Isaiah had just an amazing season this year and entertained us all -- the whole city of Boston -- and everybody fell in love with him," Ainge said. "He's such an underdog because of his size and his heart and his spirit in which he plays. It was very challenging to make this decision."
The Celtics open against the Cavs -- who else? -- on Oct. 17 in the first game of the regular season, but it remains to be seen whether Thomas will be ready to face his former squad.