Isaiah Thomas asked the Celtics not to show his tribute video until he plays against them
Thomas wants the Celtics' tribute to wait until he's actually suiting up against them
Isaiah Thomas will make his Cavaliers debut when Cleveland hosts the Blazers on Tuesday, but his highly-anticipated first "revenge game" against the Boston Celtics will have to wait a bit. The point guard will sit out Wednesday's game against the Celtics in Boston.
Thomas has missed the first 36 games of the season while recovering from a torn labrum in his hip. He's expected to be eased back into action, which is why he's not suiting up against his former team in Boston.
Because he won't be in the lineup, Thomas has asked the Celtics not to show a tribute video for him during Wednesday night's game. Instead, he requested that the team wait until he actually suits up and plays against them for the first time this season, which could be February 11th.
Thomas' relationship with the Celtics is a rocky one at this point. He spent two-plus seasons in Boston before being traded in the Kyrie Irving deal this summer. The 28-year-old guard played a significant role in helping the franchise rebuild and retool during his time in Boston, becoming the team's first real star in the post-Big Three era. He was beloved for passionate work on the floor and in the community, and his inclusion in the Irving trade was bittersweet for plenty of Celtics fans.
There might not be anyone quicker to tell you all that than Thomas himself, who has taken nearly every opportunity to remind everyone of what he did in Boston. It's clear that the guard took the trade very personally and has been quite vocal about it in the months since. His previously-strong relationship with Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is essentially now a pile of ruins that Thomas has no interest in rebuilding, mainly because Thomas feels Ainge's lack of loyalty was a slap in the face to everything Thomas did in Boston.
"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."
Though Thomas says he still loves the city of Boston and Celtics fans, the undying bitterness towards Ainge and the team's front office seems to have struck a sour chord with some of Celtics's faithful. As such, Thomas' request to delay the tribute has caught a little bit of flak. Some seem to think he's overstepping and inflating the importance of his return.
But Thomas insists that his request isn't about spite or his ego, but rather about wanting to be able to fully appreciate the love that he's expecting to receive.
It seems fair that Thomas wants his family to be in attendance for the tribute, and they're not going to travel to Boston if he's not playing. But, at this point, it also seems fair to assume that Thomas wants his first game against the Celtics to be as big of a deal as he can shape it up to be.
He could have played against the Celtics on Wednesday if he truly wanted to, but instead he's buying himself a month to shake off the rust in hopes that he can return to Boston and do some significant damage in February. There's not much sweeter revenge than sticking it to the people you feel have wronged you, but making them thank you while you do it is certainly an extra touch.
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